Was Record Breaking Da Vinci Sale the Result of Arab Princes's Accidental Bidding War?

In further news: FT editor’s appointment as chair of Tate trustees criticized; and a Wes Anderson exhibition comes to London

Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi (Saviour of the World), c.1500, oil on walnut, 66 x 45 cm. Courtesy: Christie’s, London / New York

Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi (detail), c.1500, oil on walnut, 66 x 45 cm. Courtesy: Christie’s, London / New York

Leonardo da Vinci, Salvator Mundi (detail), c.1500, oil on walnut, 66 x 45 cm. Courtesy: Christie’s, London / New York

In the latest twist surrounding last year’s record-breaking bid for Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi (c.1500), reaching USD$450.3 million at Christie’s, New York, a report in the Daily Mail claims that the astronomical price was actually the result of an accidental bidding war. The article suggests that representatives for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and the UAE’s de-facto ruler Mohammed Bin Zayed both bid for the artwork, thinking that they were competing against Qatar. After they realized the truth, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman offered Mohammed Bin Zayed the Leonardo in exchange for a yacht. 

In a new interview for frieze, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, director of Castello di Rivoli, has shared her experiences of working in the arts. Declaring her support for the #MeToo movement she commented on recent museum departures: ‘A disturbing fact is that in the past few months, most of the people being sacked or asked to resign from museums are women – Olga Viso from the Walker, Laura Raicovich at Queens, Beatrix Ruf from the Stedelijk, Maria Inés Rodríguez at CAPC Bordeaux and Helen Molesworth at LA MOCA […] It’s important to remember that there are a lot of men on museum boards.’

The latest commission for the fourth plinth of Trafalgar Square has been revealed to Londoners, with Michael Rakowitz’s The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist recreating an ancient Assyrian monument of a winged lamassu deity, destroyed by ISIS in 2015. It has been reconstructed from 10,500 Iraqi date syrup cans, and will be on show until March 2020. ‘My lamassu has its ass pointed in the direction of the British Museum and it’s facing south-east, towards Nineveh, with its wings raised, hoping to return,’ the artist told frieze.

Financial Times editor Lionel Barber has been named chair of Tate trustees. Barber has been serving as acting interim chairman of the Tate, but his formal appointment has triggered speculation about a possible conflict of interest, with Tate fundraising interfering with the impartiality demanded of his editorial role at the FT. Barber said that his involvement in fundraising would be disclosed, and he would recuse himself from associated editorial coverage.

Art collector and Yuz Museum founder Budi Tek has confirmed that he is partnering with Los Angeles County Museum of Art to create a foundation, to which he is donating his collection of contemporary Chinese art – it’s the first of its kind for a US-China museum deal. An inaugural exhibition is planned for 2019. Tek is very ill with cancer – ‘I am concerned about the collection; part of my legacy involves preserving the holdings I’ve built up over the past 15 years. There is a time pressure; I needed to make a speedy decision that was right,’ he told the Art Newspaper.

Laura Sillars has been named director of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima), UK. She will take up the new position this summer succeeding Alistair Hudson, who moved to head up Manchester Art Gallery and the Whitworth at the beginning of the year. Sillars is currently artistic director at Sheffield’s Site Gallery. 

And finally, a show of original set designs along with puppets from Wes Anderson’s film Isle of Dogs (2018), released in the UK on 30 March, is on show in London, at The Store on the Strand – the exhibition runs until 5 April 2018.

Most Read

The punk artists’s invasion of the pitch during the Croatia vs. France match reminded us what Russia’s new ‘normality’...
In further news: Brexit voters avoid arts; New York libraries’s culture pass unlocks museums; Grayson Perry-backed...
If artificial intelligence were ever to achieve sentience, could it feasibly produce art? (And would it be good?)
The punk activist-artists have been charged with disruption after they charged the field during the France vs Croatia...
27 educators are taking the London gallery to an employment tribunal, demanding that they be recognized as employees
In further news: Glasgow School of Art to be rebuilt; Philadelphia Museum of Art gets a Frank Gehry-designed restaurant
Highlights from Condo New York 2018 and Commonwealth and Council at 47 Canal: the summer shows to see
Knussen’s music laid out each component as ‘precarious, vulnerable, exposed’ – and his conducting similarly worked from...
Nods to the game in World Cup celebrations show how dance has gone viral – but unwittingly instrumentalized for...
‘You can’t reason with him but you can ridicule him’ – lightweight as it is, Trump Baby is a win for art as a...
Anderson and partner Juman Malouf are sorting through the treasures of the celebrated Kunsthistorisches Museum for...
From Capote to Basquiat, the pop artist’s glittering ‘visual diary’ of the last years of his life is seen for the first...
‘When I opened Monika Sprüth Galerie, only very few German gallerists represented women artists’
Can a ragtag cluster of artists, curators and critics really push back against our ‘bare’ art world?
In further news: German government buys Giambologna at the eleventh hour; LACMA’s new expansion delayed
Gucci and Frieze present film number two in the Second Summer of Love series, focusing on the history of acid house
Judges described the gallery’s GBP£20 million redevelopment by Jamie Fobert Architects as ‘deeply intelligent’ and a ‘...
Is the lack of social mobility in the arts due to a self-congratulatory conviction that the sector represents the...
The controversial intellectual suggests art would be better done at home – she should be careful what she wishes for
Previously unheard music on Both Directions At Once includes blues as imposing as the saxophonist would ever record
In further news: Macron reconsiders artist residencies; British Council accused of censorship; V&A to host largest...
In our devotion to computation and its predictive capabilities are we rushing blindly towards our own demise?
Arts subjects are increasingly marginalized in the UK curriculum – but the controversial intellectual suggests art is...
An exhibition of performances at Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw, unfolds the rituals of sexual encounters
An art historian explains what the Carters’s takeover of the Paris museum says about art, race and power
Artist Andrea Fraser’s 2016 in Museums, Money and Politics lifts the lid on US museum board members and...
The Ruhrtriennale arts festival disinvited the Scottish hip-hop trio for their pro-Palestinian politics, then u-turned
The Baltimore’s director on why correcting the art historical canon is not only right but urgent for museums to remain...
Serpentine swimmers complain about Christo’s floating pyramid; and Hermitage’s psychic cat is a World Cup oracle: the...
The largest mural in Europe by the artist has been hidden for 30 years in an old storage depot – until now
Alumni Martin Boyce, Karla Black, Duncan Campbell and Ciara Phillips on the past and future of Charles Rennie...
In further news: po-mo architecture in the UK gets heritage status; Kassel to buy Olu Oguibe’s monument to refugees
The frieze columnist's first novel is an homage to, and embodiment of, the late, great Kathy Acker
60 years after the celebrated Brutalist architect fell foul of local authorities, a Berlin Unité d’Habitation apartment...
The British artist and Turner Prize winner is taking on the gun advocacy group at a time of renewed debate around arms...
The central thrust of the exhibition positions Sicily as the fulcrum of geopolitical conflicts over migration, trade,...
The Carters’s museum takeover powers through art history’s greatest hits – with a serious message about how the canon...
The 20-metre-high Mastaba finally realizes the artist and his late wife Jeanne-Claude’s design
‘What is being exhibited at Manifesta, above all, is Palermo itself’
With the 12th edition of the itinerant European biennial opening in Palermo, what do local artists, curators and...
In the age of Brexit, why Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to return the ‘stolen’ Parthenon marbles has never been...
The curators seem set to ask, ‘how civilized is the world’s current state of affairs?’
US true crime series Unsolved takes two formative pop cultural events to explore their concealed human stories and...

On View

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018

frieze magazine

June - August 2018