Leonardo da Vinci's Christ painting sells for record $450 million

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A rare painting by Leonardo da Vinci auctioned in NY on Wednesday night fetched over $450 million, making it the most expensive painting ever sold. It was sold by Christie's auction house, which didn't immediately identify the buyer.

2 - The Women of Algiers (version 0), an oil by Pablo PICASSO fetched 179.4 million dollars in may 2015, at Christie's in NY. The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million, for Willem de Kooning's painting "Interchange", sold privately in September 2015 by the David Geffen Foundation to hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin. Although some are skeptical, including NY magazine art critic Jerry Saltz, the portrait is generally acknowledged to be one of fewer than 20 paintings by the master's own hand, and the only one not in a museum.

The painting, "Salvator Mundi", Latin for "Savior of the World", is one of fewer than 20 paintings by Leonardo known to exist and the only one in private hands.

A backer of the "Salvator Mundi" auction had guaranteed a bid of at least $100 million.

Almost 1,000 people converged at Christie's in Rockefeller Center for the Post-War & Contemporary Art Evening Auction.

Christie's had billed the painting as "the greatest artistic rediscovery of the 21st century" and "the last da Vinci" and exhibited it in Hong Kong, San Francisco, London and NY before Wednesday's auction.

Carl Court  Getty Images
Carl Court Getty Images

4 - Three studies of Lucian Freud, a triptych by Francis BACON, was acquired in November 2013 for 142.4 million dollars, again at Christie's in NY.

The painting was first recorded in the Royal collection of King Charles I (1600-1649), and thought to have hung in the private chambers of Henrietta Maria - the wife of King Charles I - in her palace in Greenwich, and was later in the collection of Charles II. At that time it was attributed to a Leonardo disciple, rather than to the master himself. The artwork disappeared once again for nearly 50 years, leaving many scholars to believe it had been destroyed, until it resurfaced in 2005 when it was purchased at an American estate sale.

The 26-inch-tall painting has an intriguing history. But some art experts say they have questions about it.

5 - The Scream, a pastel of Edvard MUNCH, was sold, in may 2012, 119,9 million dollars at Sotheby's, the house competing in NY.

"'Salvator Mundi' is the Holy Grail of old master paintings".

Dated to around 1500, the work sold after 19 minutes of frenzied bidding - an incongruous Old Master in Christie's evening postwar and contemporary sale, which attracts the biggest spenders in the high-octane world of global billionaire art collectors. "It has been more than a century since the last such painting turned up and this opportunity will not come again in our lifetime".

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