The Salvator Mundi, the most expensive painting ever sold at auction, will he change the face of the art world? The question has been on everyone 's lips since the auction of $ 450 million (382.3 million euros) of this work by Leonardo da Vinci, on November 15, at Christie's At New York. Many speculate on the next leap that could make the market if he crossed the fateful threshold of 500 million dollars ...
The professionals seem to believe it. And the trophy hunt has already resumed to find the new icon that could surpass that Salvator Mundi. Some whisper that there would be two more Leonardo da Vinci still in private hands, namely Madonnas, subject not having as strong religious connotation as this portrait of Christ that had prevented the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Ben Salman, to buy it in his own name. Hence the recourse to his intermediary, Prince Bader Ben Abdullah Ben Mohammed Ben Farhan al-Saud, whose identity was revealed by the New York Times.
The first Madonna, it is said, would be with an English lord who would refuse to part with it. The second, known as Madonna of Laroque (name of the village where it was found), had been bought by three art lovers, Jacques Proust, Guy Fadat and François Leclerc, who made a lot of talk about them by lending the canvas in Japan, at the headquarters of the Fuji TV, in 2009. In forty-five days, the Madonna had attracted nearly half a million visitors. This suggests a record number of entries for the Salvator Mundi when he will be exposed to Louvre Abu Dhabi (The Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism has indeed declared itself the owner of the work, without specifying the origin of funds) before coming, perhaps, to the Louvre in Paris in 2019.
For this second Madonna, a Madonna and Child alongside St. John the Baptist (bought in 1988 for 1500 francs!), There is still no real consensus. If the historian Daniel Arasse only attributes it to Leonardo da Vinci's studio, the historian Maïke Vogt-Lüerssen certifies that it belongs to the master's hand. But the expert Carlo Pedretti gives it to Giampietrino, one of his closest students. The death of this undisputed authority, last January 5th, could question everything. But if this work proves to be 100% authentic Vinci, it would be, according to experts, estimated around 600 to 700 million dollars.
Anyway, with or without Madonna, the market will never be the same again. "It's a whole scale of value that has changed," says Thomas Seydoux, a former Christie's turned art advisor. What criteria are now used to qualify a work as a masterpiece? Before it was the quality, now it's the price, pushed by a policy of guarantees of the auction houses! The Vinci was very restored. It did not affect the decision. On the contrary, he surpassed all estimates. Evidence that the norms of the past are questioned. This painting can have a catchy effect for others, on the old paintings whose unpublished ones sleep in the coffers but also on the modern ones like this one. Matisse never seen for decades from the Rockefeller collection which will be proposed mid-May, around 50 million dollars, at Christie's in New York. "
It is clear that the whole market benefits from the extraordinary auction of Salvator Mundi. Never would the canvas have reached this price if it had not been proposed in a sale of contemporary art, out of its context of ancient art, to become an icon of art. "As a result, collectors have woken up," observes Philippe Bouchet, senior underwriter and art historian at Axa Art Paris. One of our customers wanted to boost the confidence of one of his Basquiat when he saw that the Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa will exhibit this month, at the Brooklyn Museum, his trophy, a blackhead on Azure background, acquired at a record price of $ 110.5 million in May 2017, at Christie's. "
Already the holder of another Basquiat auction at a record $ 57.2 million in 2016 at Christie's, the entrepreneur, who made a fortune in the online clothing business and built a museum east of Tokyo, has all inclusive of the new business of art.
It has become a very profitable marketing product, in terms of investment and image. The Salvator Mundi is the very symbol of this famous "soft power" which makes it possible to exert an influence on the political and economic scene. The painting is obviously the result of an alliance between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates against Qatar, which until then dominated the market, after the resounding private purchases (but widely distributed to be known!) Card players Cezanne - $ 250 million in 2011 - and When do you get married?, a Tahitian Gauguin $ 300 million in 2015.
"The billion dollars will soon be auctioned because there are many, these new billionaires from Asia or elsewhere, to get into the art market, now produces safer than financial assets, while banks have negative interest rates and lend themselves to ", prognosis on its side Thierry Ehrmann. Founder of Artprice, he can, thanks to his Internet site, observe the financial flows operating on an artist or a current of the market. He was the first to discover the origin of the funds for the acquisition of Salvator Mundi. "We had downplayed the impact of the museum industry in the art market. The buyer of the Salvator Mundi has already made its purchase largely profitable by the potential ticketing it can generate. "Be careful, however, there is not a masterpiece behind every painting.
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Source: © Salvator Mundi upsets the art market