How the Mysterious Da Vinci Buyer Is Related to Saudi's Crown Prince

Postado Dezembro 07, 2017

We now know that the Louvre Abu Dhabi is going to exhibit Leonardo Da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", which sold last month in a Christie's Contemporary sale in NY for a cool $450 million.

Despite Prince Bader's relatively obscure status, he is seen as a close friend of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and has become more prominent in the kingdom since the crown prince's ascension. The newspaper cited documents provided from inside Saudi Arabia. In September, he helped broker a deal between SRMG and Bloomberg to form the joint, Arabic-language media platform Bloomberg Al-Arabiya.

The Saudi prince is not a famous art collector and the sources of his wealth remain unknown.

Prince Bader is listed as a director of Houston-based Energy Holdings International, Inc. It is home to the first place in Saudi Arabia designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Al-Hijr archaeological site.

According to The New York Times, representatives of Prince Bader presented him as a bidder only a day before the record-breaking sale.

Alex Rotter, the auction house's co-chairman of post-war and contemporary art in the Americas, represented the anonymous buyer of the Da Vinci and placed the winning bid after a spellbinding 19-minute contest that saw offers at US$200 million, US$300 million and US$350 million fall short.

As auctioneers in NY watched on disbelief, the bidding war over Salvator Mundi far outstripped the original "conservative" estimate of $100 million.

However Prince Bader paid for the seminal artwork, one thing is clear: he was desperate to win the auction. They both attended the King Saud University, Riyadh, at the same time.

Members of Christie's staff pose for pictures next to Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" painting in London, October 24, 2017.

He was appointed by Prince Mohammed as the governor of a newly formed commission to develop a tourist destination project led by Prince Mohammed. By then, though, the painting's origin had been obscured due to overpainting and it was credited to da Vinci's follower Bernardino Luini.

Not only was Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi the talk of the art world, but last month's news of a record-setting $450.3 million sale at auction made headlines around the globe.

The painting is now heading to the recently opened Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum (above) to go on display.