The most expensive painting Da Vinci will appear in UAE


The canvas will appear in Abu Dhabi.

Just to qualify as a bidder for the last privately-owned da Vinci in the world, Prince Bader had to jump through several hoops.

Featuring a vast silver-toned dome, the Louvre Abu Dhabi was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, drawing inspiration from Arab design and evoking both an open desert and the sea.

Prince Bader, a friend of Saudi Arabia's young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is not known as a major art collector, but has extensive dealings in the real estate, telecommunications, and recycling industries in Saudi Arabia, according to his profile on the website of the company Energy Holdings International, on whose board of directors he once served. The painting's authenticity is still widely questioned by many experts, while the issue of overpainting, restoration and conservation will always be an underlying issue.

FILE PHOTO: "Salvator Mundi", an ethereal portrait of Jesus Christ which dates to about 1500 by Leonardo da Vinci, is on display for the media at Christie's in New York, NY, U.S., October 10, 2017.

The first museum to bear the Louvre name outside France has been billed as "the first universal museum in the Arab world" in a sign of the oil-rich emirate's global ambitions.

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The New York Times report said Prince Bader took part in the auction of the painting through telephone on November 15.

Christie's auction house sold it to an anonymous buyer last month.

Salvator Mundi's staggering record eclipses the previous podium standings - which, adjusted for modern day pricings - include Interchange by Willem de Kooning which sold for $300 million in 2015, followed by The Card Players by Paul Cezanne which went for $250 million in 2011, followed by Nafea Faa Ipoipo by Paul Gauguin in third place, which sold for $210 million in 2014.

The museum tweeted that "Da Vinci's Salvator Mundi is coming to #LouvreAbuDhabi", which was confirmed by Christie's, the auction house that handled the sale of the painting. Under a 30-year agreement, France provides expertise, lends works of art and organises exhibitions in return for one billion euros ($1.16bn).

It is one of fewer than 20 paintings generally accepted as being from the Renaissance master's own hand, according to Christie's. It was later purchased by art dealers, restored and eventually sold to Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev for $127.5 million.