Louvre Abu Dhabi Claims They Own Leonardo's "Salvator Mundi"

Louvre Abu Dhabi Claims They Own Leonardo's

The 500-year-old oil painting of Jesus went under the hammer in NY for a record-breaking $450 million including fees, four times over its pre-sale estimate and more than double the old mark for any work of art at auction.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi which opened last month and now will house Leonardo's Salvator Mundi.

A document seen by Reuters showed that a Saudi prince was authorized to purchase the painting on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism.

Finally, the splashy purchase came just as Saudi Arabia's 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was leading a "sweeping crackdown against corruption and self-enrichment" among the country's elite, as the Times noted.

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Instead it is the UAE that has landed the prized work which will now go on display at the museum, which is at the heart of a fast emerging cultural district in the capital.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi is getting Leonardo Da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", which sold last month at a Christie's auction for $450 million, the most ever paid for a work of art.

The work - known as Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World) - was sold in NY for a record $450m (£341m).

A New York Times report had cited unnamed sources "familiar with the Saudi royal family" who had "presumed" that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was funding Prince Badr's bid.

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A spokeswoman for Christie's offered her congratulations to the Louvre Abu Dhabi, telling CNN that she was "delighted that the piece is going to be on view in public".

The newspaper said that the work will be lent or resold to museums, largely in the Middle East and Asia.

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. It displays La Belle Ferronnière, which is on loan from the Louvre in Paris, according to Bloomberg.

He had bought the painting in 2013 for $127.5 million although he later accused a Swiss art dealer of overcharging him.

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"We're not supposed to tax the Saudi guy if he takes the painting outside the U.S.", Kleinman said.

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