Dispute over Leonardo's 'Salvator Mundi' (ctd.)

November 23 2016

Image of Dispute over Leonardo's 'Salvator Mundi' (ctd.)

Picture: Getty Images/Bloomberg

Bloomberg reports that the ongoing dispute between the Russian collector Dmitry Rybolovlev and his one time advisor, Yves Bouvier, has been widened to include Sotheby's and the consortium of those who discovered, restored and authenticated the painting. Sotheby's brokered the deal between the consortium and Bouvier for a reported $80m, but then Bouvier sold it on for a reported $127.5m.

The painting was sold in 2013 to a company controlled by Bouvier for $80 million by a consortium of dealers that include Warren Adelson, president of Adelson Galleries, New York art dealers Alexander Parish and Robert Simon, Sotheby’s said. Bouvier flipped the painting to Rybolovlev for $127.5 million. The dealers’ group is now threatening to sue Sotheby’s for the difference, claiming they were shortchanged on the sale, the auction house said in a filing in Manhattan federal court Monday.

The international battle is being watched closely by the art market. The Russian fertilizer billionaire accused the freeport mogul of overcharging him by $500 million to $1 billion during the course of a decade for works by da Vinci, Mark Rothko and Pablo Picasso. Rybolovlev sued Bouvier in Monaco and Singapore, claiming he was the victim of fraud.

Rybolovlev declined to comment on the Sotheby’s filing. Simon also declined to comment on behalf of the consortium.

Sotheby’s had nothing to do with the private deal Bouvier struck with Rybolovlev and it didn’t make any money on the sale, the auction house said in the court filing.

Update - more on the story here on Art Market Monitor.

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