Da Vinci and Warhol Paintings Could Command $150 Million

Da Vinci and Warhol Paintings Could Command $150 Million

Dating from around 1500 - about the same time the Mona Lisa was painted - Salvator Mundi or "Savior of the World", sets Christ against a dark background in royal blue robes, facing the viewer and holding a glass orb in his left hand.

The painting is to travel to Hong Kong, San Francisco and London before it is sold by Christie's in NY on 15 November.

Many have dubbed the evocative work "the male Mona Lisa", because of its similarities to the iconic painting, according to Francois de Poortere, head of Old Master Paintings at Christie's. "Long-known to have existed, and long-sought after, it seemed just a tantalizingly unobtainable dream until now", says Alan Wintermute, Christie's senior specialist of old master paintings.

Loic Gouzer, Christie's chair of postwar and contemporary art in NY, said bringing it to the market was a "once in a lifetime" honour. It was the first time since 1909 a Leonardo da Vinci painting was discovered in private hands.

Christie's will present for sale this fall the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 21st century: Leonardo da Vinci's Salvator Mundi.

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Salvator Mundi, an ethereal portrait of Jesus Christ which dates to about 1500, is expected to sell for about US$100 million (RM421.9 million) at Christie's in November, making it among the most highly-valued works ever to be sold at auction.

It was previously owned by King Charles I, after which it was auctioned in 1763 before disappearing until the turn of the 20th century. That was the last-known activity of the painting until 1900, when it was acquired by Sir Charles Robinson for the Cook Collection in Doughty House, Richmond. It sold for about $60 in 1958. It then disappeared again until it was purchased at a small regional auction house in the USA by a consortium of American businesspeople in 2005.

The new owner started the restoration process, and after some six years of research it was authenticated as da Vinci's more-than 500-year-old masterpiece, which culminated in a high-profile exhibition at London's National Gallery in 2011.

Excitement and anticipation filled the air this morning at Christie's NY as select members of the press gathered in a private gallery to witness the auction houses' first unveiling of a mysterious, unprecedented masterpiece. "To see a fully finished, late masterpiece by Leonardo, made at the peak of his genius, appear for sale in 2017 is as close as I've come to an Art World Miracle".

The same sale at Christie's will feature Andy Warhol's monumental Sixty Last Suppers, a piece from one of the pop artist's final series before his death in 1987. "I can hardly convey how exciting it is for those of us directly involved in its sale", remarked Wintermute. The estimate for Sixty Last Suppers is $50 million.

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