Sunday, 25 February, 2018

Mundi buyer was a Saudi prince

Saudi Prince Identified as Buyer of $450.3M Leonardo Painting “Salvator Mundi” Little-known prince from Saudi Arabia revealed as $450 million buyer of Da Vinci painting
Stacy Diaz | 08 December, 2017, 03:08

Less than two weeks before the auction, on 4 November, bin Salman ordered the crackdown on more than 200 of the richest Saudi princes, businessmen and government officials.

The mystery over who paid a record-breaking $450 million for Leonardo da Vinci's painting Salvator Mundi at an auction last month appears to have been solved.

As in most high-profile auction deals, the name of the buyer was unknown. IBT cites a report by the New York Times that highlights that Bader only published his identity at the very last moment.

The painting - one of fewer than 20 works generally accepted as being by the Renaissance master, according to Christie's - was officially bought by little-known Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, reports say.

Prince Bader, part of a distant branch of the wealthy royal family, is reportedly friends and business partners with Crown Prince Mohammed.

The Louvre Abu Dhabi opened on Nov 8 in the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, who described the new museum as a "bridge between civilisations".

Prince Khaled Mohammed bin Salman's younger brother is currently Riyadh’s ambassador to the United States
Prince Khaled Mohammed bin Salman's younger brother is currently Riyadh’s ambassador to the United States

And even before the disclosure of the record-breaking purchase in a NY art auction by one of his associates, Prince Mohammed's extravagance had already raised eyebrows, most notably with the impulse purchase two years ago in the south of France of a Russian vodka titan's 440-foot yacht, for half a billion dollars.

Documents provided from inside Saudi Arabia and reviewed by The Times reveal that representatives for the buyer, Prince Bader, did not present him as a bidder until the day before the sale.

Despite Prince Bader's relatively obscure status, he is seen as a close friend of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and has become more prominent in the kingdom since the crown prince's ascension. Even executives at Christie's had questions about who it was. But the Times investigation found that he certainly owns more than property.

Prince Miteb bin Abdul Aziz, Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Prince Bader bin Miteb bin Abdul Aziz, and Prince Abdullah bin Miteb bin Abdul Aziz. In fact, Prince Bader now serves as the chairman of Saudi Research and Marketing Group, which was traditionally controlled directly by the crown prince's family.

In July, King Salman also named Bader governor of a newly formed commission, led by bin Salman, to develop the province of al-Ola as a tourist destination. The project was commissioned to Brent Thompson Architects, a Los Angeles-based design company.

Photo Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" on display at Christie's auction house in NY.