A Billionaire, an Insider, And a Lost Leonardo
Art Market ▶ A European art scandal comes to the U.S. ▶ Fraud? Or “a commercial dispute over paintings”?
As a restorer carefully removed overpainting and yellowed varnish on the painting of Christ, a lost masterpiece was revealed: the Mona Lisa mouth, the subtle brushwork, the gossamer glaze. The world learned in 2011 that the painting was the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Salvator Mundi later sold for $127.5 million, in a transaction that’s become part of one of the biggest art scandals in decades.
The dealer Yves Bouvier, one of the art world’s consummate insiders, has for months been battling with the Leonardo’s buyer, Dmitry Rybolovlev. The Russian billionaire spent, by his own count, more than $2 billion on almost 40 works purchased through Bouvier over