A Leonardo Made a $450 Million Splash. Now There’s No Sign of It.

www.nytimes.com | 3/30/2019 | Staff
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“Nonsense,” she said in an interview, calling these “ridiculous claims.”

Auction house contracts typically include a five-year authenticity warranty. But the extensive public documentation and debate before the 2017 sale would make it difficult for the buyer to recover the payment by challenging the attribution to Leonardo.

Buyer - Auction - New - York - Prince

The anonymous buyer at the auction in New York, Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud, was a little known member of a distant branch of the Saudi royal family with no publicly known source of great wealth or history as a major art collector. But he was a close friend and confidant of Crown Prince Mohammed. A few months after the auction, the royal court named Prince Bader as the kingdom’s first-ever minister of culture.

Christie’s initially sought to guard Prince Bader’s identity so closely during the bidding that it created a...
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