November 15, evening:
Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ Sells for $450.3 M. at Christie’s in New York, Shattering Market Records
CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD. 2017
Tonight, at an absolutely packed salesroom at Christie’s headquarters at Rockefeller Center in New York, Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi (ca. 1500) sold for $450.3 million.And this morning:
That figure is, by a long shot, the all-time record for a painting at auction and the most ever believed to have been paid for an artwork.
The work had carried a guarantee understood to be around $100 million, so it was a certainty to sell, but the bidding blew past that number quickly and kept going over the course of 19 minutes.
Scattered applause and whistles went through the salesroom when the work reached $200 million, causing the auctioneer, Jussi Pylkkanen, to shush the crowd. The bidding slowed around $230 million, as bidders dueled, but it kept climbing—to $240 million, then $250 million, then $255 million, then $260 million. The bidding increments slowed, climbing by $2 million at a time, to $268 million, then $270 million. It reached $282 million, then $284 million. “Still two of you in the game here,” Pylkkanen said.
As he moved toward a sale, the bidding jumped to $286 million, which was then answered with $300 million. “I thought so,” Pylkkanen said, as the room erupted in laughter and cheers. The bidding sat there for a moment. “We’ll wait. Historic moment here,” he said.
But it just kept climbing—to $310 million, to $318 million. “Are we all done in the salesroom?” he asked. It went to $320 million. “We’re still not done!” Then $350 million arrived, followed by $352 million, and Pylkkanen took a drink of water, playing it cool, apparently unconcerned. The bidders would just not stop, and it went up from there. Finally a bid of $400 million came, which was enough to win the day. The buyer will pay about $50 million in fees....MORE
‘We Witnessed History’: Christie’s $450.3 M. Leonardo da Vinci Becomes Priciest Work of Art Ever Sold, at $788.9 M. Postwar Sale
History was made at Christie’s postwar and contemporary evening sale on Wednesday night, when Salvator Mundi (ca. 1500), believed to be the last painting by Leonardo da Vinci in private hands, sold for $450.3 million, making it the most expensive art market transaction of all time. It was purchased by a client on the phone with department head Alex Rotter after a 19-minute session that involved five bidders, four on the phone and one in the room.
That total is $150 million more than what was believed to be the previous highest transaction, which was recorded when Kenneth Griffin bought Willem de Kooning’s Interchange (1955) from David Geffen for $300 million in 2015. The previous record for a work sold at auction was Pablo Picasso’s The Women of Algiers (Version O), 1955, which sold at Christie’s for $179.4 million in May 2015.
The Leonardo lot accounted for more than half of the total haul for the evening, which came to $788.9 million. Some works passed with a buyer after the Leonardo, in a room filled with people in disbelief, but the auction netted a respectable sell-through rate of 84 percent.
“It’s difficult to find words after such an evening,” Christie’s CEO Guillaume Cerutti said at a press conference after the sale, with Salvator Mundi installed in a gallery behind him. “But certainly this is a great moment for the art market.”
When asked who purchased the work, Cerutti was once again at a loss for words.
“We do not comment on the identities of the buyers, I’m sorry,” he said, while adding, “The bids came from every part of the world.”...MUCH MORE