Record-breaking Leonardo painting goes to Louvre Abu Dhabi

Saudi king to Trump: Jerusalem embassy move a 'dangerous step'

Saudi king to Trump: Jerusalem embassy move a 'dangerous step'

But there's still no public information on who purchased the painting at the record-setting auction in November, when the controversial artwork went for $450.3 million USA at Christie's, making it the most expensive painting ever sold.

Auction house Christie's demanded he provide a $100 million deposit just to be confirmed as a bidder, and then sit through a rigorous process where Christie's accountants conducted due diligence on his wealth.

The New York Times reported later Wednesday that Saudi Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud was the buyer, citing documents it reviewed. The painting's authenticity is still widely questioned by many experts, while the issue of overpainting, restoration and conservation will always be an underlying issue.

Prince Bader reportedly claimed real estate was his main source of finance.

Unlike much of the Saudi elite, which has been scooped up or intimidated into silence by Prince Mohammed's ongoing purge, Prince Bader appears to be in good standing with the heir apparent to King Salman's thrown.

According to The New York Times, the painting was bought by Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, who is said to be a close friend of Saudi Arabia's all-powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

The painting is now heading to the recently opened Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum (above) to go on display.

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

Christie's today let the cat out of the bag and said the artwork would be going to the museum, they, however, declined to say whether the Louvre Abu Dhabi purchased the painting.

The announcement comes less than a month after the Louvre Abu Dhabi - the Paris institution's first outpost outside France - opened its doors. The result obliterated previous world records for an art sale of any kind, including the auction high of $179.4 million for a Pablo Picasso painting sold in 2015.

But "Salvator Mundi" is set to be the museum's biggest attraction.

Da Vinci died in 1519 and there are fewer than 20 of his paintings in existence.

At Christie's Da Vinci auction, the salesroom was full of millionaires and billionaires, including Point72 Asset Management's Steve Cohen, Blackstone Group LP's Tom Hill, who collects Old Master works, and philanthropist Eli Broad.

It had sold for a mere 45 British pounds in 1958, when the painting was thought to have been a copy, and was lost until it resurfaced at a regional auction in 2005. It was restored and authenticated, before being sold to its most recent owner, Russian businessman Dmitry Rybolovlev, for $127.5 million.

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