Da Vinci's 'male Mona Lisa' expected to sell for $100M

Mona Lisa copy in Madrid's Prado

Da Vinci's 'male Mona Lisa' expected to sell for $100M

Dating from around 1500 - about the same time the Mona Lisa was painted - Salvator Mundi or "Savior of the World", sets Christ against a dark background in royal blue robes, facing the viewer and holding a glass orb in his left hand.

"You have to understand there are only about 15 known paintings of da Vinci's in existence", says Loic Gouzer, cochair of postwar and contemporary art in NY, adding, "It is the only one left in private hands".

Both works are guaranteed to sell by third parties, according to the auction house. It was known that Leonardo had produced a painting of that name, but it was assumed it had long ago been destroyed.

Unusually for an Old Master painting, it will be offered as "a special lot" in Christie's Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Sale on November 15.

When asked whether Salvator Mundi's involvement in complaints filed across the world would affect its sale, or at least the optics of it, Christie's postwar and contemporary chairman, Loic Gouzer, who secured the work, said, "We can not comment about sellers, but it has every passport, every visa". That work's estimated price is $50 million, the Times said. Finally, the painting will be on display in NY, at the Christie's in Rockefeller Plaza, from October 28 to November 4.

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.

Gouzer and Wintermute were joined at the rare "unveiling" event on October 10 by Alex Rotter, cochair of postwar and contemporary art in NY, and François de Poortere, head of the Old Masters department in NY. It had been sold at auction for just £45 in 1958, after which it disappeared again until 2005, when it was purchased from an American estate, says Christie's.

"It has been more than a century since the last such painting turned up and this opportunity will not come again in our lifetime".

The new owner started the restoration process, and after some six years of research it was authenticated as da Vinci's more-than 500-year-old masterpiece, which culminated in a high-profile exhibition at London's National Gallery in 2011. "To see a fully finished, late masterpiece by Leonardo, made at the peak of his genius, appear for sale in 2017 is as close as I've come to an art world miracle", he said. It is understood to have been sold privately for more than $75m in 2013.

Christie's will also sell the final silk-screen by Andy Warhol at the same auction.

Of course, also bear in mind: This is a sales pitch by a salesperson, one representing a house that just vastly overestimated the price of a Francis Bacon painting at auction in London last week.

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