Da Vinci painting to go on auction block for $100M

Painting of Napoleon Bonaparte

Painting of Napoleon Bonaparte

One of just 20 known paintings by da Vinci, whose works also include the Last Supper, and Vitruvian Man, Salvador Mundi was painted in the same timeframe as the artist's most popular portrait, Mona Lisa, and bears similar characteristics, say art critics. On November 15, it will be sold in NY.

In addition, the consortium that originally sold the work threatened to sue Sotheby's for its involvement in the sale, alleging that they got shortchanged.

"It was only when they began to clean it, to remove the old layers of years and years of overpaint, that you could see the great touch of the original Leonardo coming forward".

A third party guarantee has been arranged for the painting, which ensures it will sell for around the estimate of $100 million on November 15, said Francois de Poortere, head of the Christie's old masters department in NY.

"We felt that offering this painting within that context is a testament to the enduring relevance of this picture", said Loic Gouzer, chairman of Christie's post-war and contemporary art. He said Leonardo rarely painted.

In the mid-17th century it was listed in an inventory of the collection of Charles I of England, and it is thought to have hung in the private chambers of his wife, Henrietta Maria of France.

Gouzer and Wintermute were joined at the rare "unveiling" event on October 10 by Alex Rotter, cochair of postwar and contemporary art in NY, and François de Poortere, head of the Old Masters department in NY.

The painting remained in the family until 1763, when it was sold by Charles Herbert Sheffield-the illegitimate son of the Duke of Buckingham-who put it up for auction following the sale of what is now Buckingham Palace to the king.

Following the dispersal of the Cook Collection, Salvator Mundi was ultimately consigned to a sale at Sotheby's in 1958 where it sold for £45. 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 2ft 2in x 18in (66 x 45cm) oil on walnut panel later featured in an exhibition at the National Gallery in London as a new discovery of a work by Leonardo, becoming only one of 20 known surviving paintings generally accepted as from the artist's own hand. The opportunity to bring this masterpiece to the market is an honor that comes around once in a lifetime. "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". "I can hardly convey how exciting it is for those of us directly involved in its sale". Andy Warhol's Sixty Last Suppers from 1986 will be offered with a $50m estimate. "Many paintings are described as a tour-de-force-this is Warhol's".

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