Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

Muslim Prince Spends $450 Million On A Painting Of Jesus

Christie's employees pose in front of Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci at Christie's auction house in central London on Oct. 22 2017 Fight against corruption: Paving the way to the fourth Saudi state
Hannah Rogers | 08 December, 2017, 00:55

The new owner of table Salvator Mundi, an interpretation of Christ by Leonardo Da Vinci, is Saudi Arabian Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Farhan al Saud, according to an investigation of NY Times.

The Christie's house, which organized sale of Salvator Mundi, has not revealed identity of buyer, which since realization of auction had generated speculations on who had acquired work. The painting was sold November 15 for $450 million.

It is the first of three museums slated to open on the emirate's Saadiyat Island, with plans also in place for an edition of New York's Guggenheim. He is little-known Saudi prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud. But there is little known about Prince Bader, as he is not well-known as an art collector.

Christie's representatives attempted to identify Prince Bader and his source of finances before the sale, after he gave a $100 million deposit to qualify for the auction, The Times said. Prior to the auction, Christie's lawyers questioned him about his ties to the royal family and the source of his money, which he told them came from real estate.

But Prince Mohammed, whom the Times describes as King Salman's favored son and key adviser, has himself been criticized for his spending habits, including impulsively spending half a billion dollars on a yacht a year ago while at the same time slashing capital spending by 71 percent.

Prince Bader was also made the chairman of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group, which is controlled by the Salman branch of the royal family.

The Saudi art-world figure told The Journal that Prince Bader "is a proxy" for Prince Mohammed. As the Times points out, in July the king appointed Prince Bader as governor of a new commission led by Prince Mohammed and charged with developing the Al Ola region into a tourist destination.

'Congratulations, ' Christie's said in a tweeted reply to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The latter detail, however, was in fact far from reassuring: Saudi Arabia's many princes have caused quite a stir in the news lately, as last month the country's government detained more than 200 people in a crackdown on corruption and embezzled funds amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars, which included singling out many of its most prominent princes. This could be because Prince Mohammed is a supporter and ally of Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan.

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