Salvator Mundi at Louvre Abu Dhabi
A member of the Saudi royal family has been identified as the winning bidder of Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi. Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al- Saud was widely reported to have bought the $450m picture at Christie’s New York last month after The New York Times published an article citing documents from inside Saudi Arabia that it had reviewed.
Prince Bader was born into a lesser-known branch of the House of Saud. He is chairman of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group but has no known history as an art collector.
However, according to the Wall Street Journal, sources in the country later suggested he was buying on the behalf of the country’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, although an article from Reuters later reported a Saudi official denying this was the case.
The same article reported that Christie's had now said the work was bought for Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism, with Prince Bader described as "as an intermediary purchaser" by the Saudi official.
Last week, it was announced on Twitter that Salvator Mundi would heading to The Louvre Abu Dhabi. The museum was inaugurated only the week before the Christie’s auction and it would appear that Prince Bader may have bid for the work on behalf of the newly opened institution in Saudi Arablia's close Middle Eastern ally.
Metal detectorists boost ‘treasure’
A record amount of ‘treasure’ has been found in Britain’s fields and ditches by members of the public in the past year. Newly released data for 2016 revealed 1120 finds were made, the highest annual figure since the Treasure Act came into law 20 years ago.
The growth in amateur treasure hunters using metal detectors accounts for the vast majority of Treasure finds (96%) and Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) finds (88%).
Thumbs-up for a winter fair slot
Initial consultations over the future of the Winter Art & Antiques Fair Olympia indicate there is a demand for a fair at that time of year, according to organiser Clarion Events.
In a statement it said that opinion at the event showed “there is an appetite for a good trading fair” during this period.
Clarion will be “going back to the trade with options of how this could work with a view to making a decision within the first quarter of 2018 following a response from the dealers”.
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In October it was announced that the fair was no longer financially viable and the 2017 edition, from October 31-November 2, would be the last one in its previous format.
Sotheby’s fills Netherlands role
Sotheby’s has appointed Sarah de Clercq as managing director in The Netherlands.
She was previously head of Old Master and 19th century European art at Christie’s in Amsterdam and will start her new role in January.
Pallant House buys Wood painting
Pallant House Gallery in Chichester has permanently acquired the painting China Dogs in a St Ives Window by Christopher Wood (1901-30) after a fundraising drive.
It has been on long-term loan to the gallery from a private collection since 2009 and is one of the most recognisable and important works in the gallery’s significant collection of Modern British art.
The painting was also a key work in the gallery’s major 2016 exhibition, Christopher Wood: Sophisticated Primitive.
Substantial amounts to support the purchase came from The Art Fund, the Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, donors and the Friends of Pallant House Gallery Acquisitions Fund.
The remaining £15,000 needed was raised through the Friends of the Gallery and members of the public.
Thanks to the backing of a private donor, the necessary conservation work on the canvas and frame will also now be undertaken.
The number of years Laura Paulson had worked at Christie’s New York. Having joined Christie’s in 1989, her most recent title was global chairman of 20th-century art. She was appointed vice chairman of Christie’s Americas advisory board in July and was due to take up the role in the new year, but last month she left the auction house.