When a painting is sold for nearly half-a-billion-dollar, people will start noticing even if you are not into art. Christie’s held an auction November 2017, which sold Leonardo da Vinci’s rediscovered portrait of Jesus Christ better known as “Salvator Mundi’, or the savior of the world. Selling price? $450.3 million dollars making it the most expensive work of art ever sold. Before the sale, dealers wagered the 500-year-old of an enigmatic Christ dressed in a blue robe could sell for far more – given that only fewer than 20 of da Vinci’s paintings survived and this is the lat one deemed by him in private hands.
This auction eclipsed the sale of another record breaking sale back in 2015 known as “Interchange” by Willem de Kooning. It was one of de Kooning’s first abstract landscapes, and marked a change in his style under the influence of fellow artist Franz Kline. The completion of the oil painting occurred in 1955 in a decade which de Kooning had concentrated much of the early part of the 1950’s reworking abstract figure study works of the female figure which he started in 1948. De Kooning sold the painting shortly after it was completed to and architect named Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. for $4,000. Kauffmann’s estate sold the painting alongside other pieces of his art collection at Sotheby’s in New York in November 1989 for $20.7 million to a Jaonaese art dealer Shigeki Kameyama, owner of the Mountain Tortoise Gallery in Tokyo. Kameyama claimed his buyer backed out, and he was forced to sell other paintings to pay the hammer price. The work was sold to David Geffen after 1990 at a substantial loss. After 25 years Geffen purchased the “Interchange”, Geffen sold the painting to hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin for $300 million. Ken Griffin also purchased Jackson Pollock’s “Number 17A” for $200 million from David Geffen.
Who knows which painting will surpass the “Salvator Mundi” in the near future. The “Mona Lisa” was assessed at $100 million on December 14th, 1962. Taking inflation into account, the 1962 value would be around $620 million today. The “Mona Lisa” could perhaps eclipse the $1 billion mark.