AKIPRESS.COM - Salvator Mundi, the long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting of Jesus Christ commissioned by King Louis XII of France more than 500 years ago, has sold at Christie’s in New York for $450.3m, including auction house premium, shattering the world record for any work of art sold at auction, The Guardian reported.
The sale generated a sustained 20 minutes of tense telephone bidding as the auctioneer Jussi Pylkkanen juggled rival suitors before a packed crowd of excited onlookers in the salesroom. At one point, Pylkkanen remarked: “Historic moment, we’ll wait” as the the bidding went back and forth, pausing at just over $200m as it rose to break the auction record.
At one point, a telephone bidder jumped in, pushing the price from $332m to $350m. The bidding then resumed: $353m, $355m. A jump to $370. A jump to $400m.
“Thank you all for your bidding,” said Pykklanen. “Four hundred million selling here at Christie’s. The piece is sold.”
The saleroom erupted in cheers and applause.
The sale places Salvator Mundi as the highest-priced work sold at auction, including Pablo Picasso’s 1955 Women of Algiers (Version O), sold for $179.4m, and Amedeo Modigliani’s 1917-18 Reclining Nude, sold for $170.4m. Record private sales are believed to include $250m for a painting by Paul Cézanne and $300m for a Paul Gauguin.
Previewing the lot last month, Christie’s described the painting of Christ holding a crystal orb in his left hand and raising his right in benediction as “the biggest discovery of the 21st century”.