Tonight, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” sold for $400 million shattering art auction records ($450.3 million with fees). The buyer is still unknown.
Before today, the highest price paid for art at auction was Pablo Picasso’s “Les Femmes d’Alger” (1955), which including fees went for $179.4 million, and the highest price paid in a private sale is believed to be Willem de Kooning’s “Interchange” (1955) at roughly $300 million.
Just a reminder that:
- The US provides $320 million in aid to Mexico,
- Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera holds one of the biggest contracts in sports history — 10 years, $292 million,
- an estate in Bel Air — believed to be the most expensive property in the US — went on sale this year for $350 million
- Iran received $400 million after the Iran deal — the money was being held by the US for decades,
- Kylie Jenner’s cosmetics line is worth over $400 million,
- the Koch brothers are expected to spend $300 million to $400 million during the 2018 election cycle,
- California is expected to lose $400 million in federal K-12 education funding under Trump,
- the nominal GDP of the country of Tonga was $439 million in 2011,
- Billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson donated $400 million to Harvard University in 2015,
- Miami Beach has a $400 million “Sea-Level Rise Plan” that they hope will save it from rising ocean waters,
- this year, NJ Governor Chris Christie announced a $400 million plan to fix the state’s bridges, roads, and transit systems, and
- the new Whitney Museum in lower Manhattan was estimated to cost $422 million.
You get the picture, or rather, someone else did.
UPDATED, Friday, November 17, 11:25am EDT: Christie’s has issued the following statement about the authenticity of the Leonardo painting:
While we welcome the level of interest in the work, it is important to note that all the leading active scholars on this artist and period have already supported the full authorship of this painting, which is why it was exhibited with full attribution to Leonardo da Vinci at the National Gallery in London in 2011. Christie’s stands behind the detailed cataloguing of the work of art, which includes a thorough assessment of attribution and condition. This is 500-year-old painting that evokes an array of emotions in those who see it in person; it’s a rare work of art that inspires so much interest, intrigue and excitement.