The mystery buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's painting ‘Salvator Mundi’, which fetched a record $450.3 million at an auction here last month, is a Saudi prince, a media report said. The revelation that Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al-Saud was the purchaser were according to documents reviewed by The New York Times.
He is a friend and associate of the country's 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.A spokeswoman for Christie's said it did not comment on the identities of any buyer or seller without their permission.
Prince Bader did not respond to a detailed request for comment. But as The New York Times pressed for a response on 6 December, the newly opened branch of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi tweeted that the painting "is coming to Louvre Abu Dhabi".
In order to participate in the bidding, the prince put $100 million on deposit with the auction house, although Christie's subsequently asked for additional information, including the origin of the money he was putting up, with the prince stating simply that it came from "real estate", The New York Times reported.
The painting's previous owner, Dmitry E. Rybolovlev, a Russian billionaire, had paid $127.5 million for the painting in 2013, less than a third of its sale price last month, and he is still locked in litigation with the dealer who sold it to him over that price.