The Sotheby’s auction world has received a massive payday over the “Salvator Mundi,” which recently sold for a world record-breaking $450 million. The label, the sixth-most expensive painting ever sold, was created by Leonardo da Vinci during the French Court and has a jazzy, royal French theme woven into its design.
But as these past few days have shown, the conclusion many people have drawn from the painting is subject to suspicion. Last year the Christie’s auction house sold “Portrait of Adrienne Monnier” for $179.4 million and has already recouped $192 million of the purchase price. (Photos of Monnier— which sold for the far less than $150 million— are anything but jazzy.)
As a result, many are asking whether the famed Italian master is behind the sales.
And in an editorial this week, the Art Newspaper cited speculation that multiple sellers, not just Leonardo himself, could be working behind the scenes and, as one seller told the British newspaper, “being critical of the place of Leonardo’s work in art’s history.” The Art Newspaper’s Andrew Graham-Dixon also asserted that certain longstanding experts were undercutting Leonardo, whose work once held an 80% share of the art market.
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