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Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ fetches $450.3m at auction

16 November 2017

Our daily round-up of news from the art world

‘Salvator Mundi’ sells for $450.3m at Christie’s New York | Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ sold to an unknown buyer on Wednesday for $450.3 million (including fees), setting a new record price for a work sold at auction. The previous record was set by Picasso’s Women of Algiers which sold for $179.4 million (also at Christie’s) in May 2015. For an analysis of a crucial component of the sale – Christie’s’ marketing campaign, and decision to place the painting in the Post-War & Contemporary Art sale – read Susan Moore here.

The Met receives $80million gift from the Irving family
Florence Irving, a trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and her late husband Herbert Irving are to give the museum $80million, to be used to create an acquisitions fund and several other funds to support exhibitions and publications by the Department of Asian Art. A wing of the museum was named after the couple in 2004 and the Irvings donated 1,200 works from their collection of Asian Art to the Met in 2015.

City of Kassel will cover Documenta’s financial deficit | The next edition of Documenta will go ahead, and its dates have been set, despite the expected deficit of €5.4m incurred by this year’s edition, reports the Art Newspaper. The mayor of Kassel has said that the city’s tax revenue is strong enough to cover the shortfall. In addition, ‘Documenta is a great stroke of fortune and a cultural treasure for the state of Hesse, and we must preserve it,’ said Boris Rhein, culture minister of Hesse, after a meeting of Documenta’s supervisory board today.

Darsie Alexander is appointed chief curator of the Jewish Museum |
The Jewish Museum in New York has named its next chief curator, Artnews reports. Darsie Alexander has been executive director of the Katonah Museum of Art in Katonah, New York since 2014 and was the chief curator of the Walker Art Center before that. Alexander will take up her post in March 2018.

Art for Justice makes its first round of grants | Art for Justice, the charity founded by the philanthropist Agnes Gund to end mass incarceration in the US, is giving its first $22m in grants to 30 organisations, reports the New York Times. The president emerita of the Museum of Modern Art and current chairman of MoMA PS1 began the fund by selling a Roy Lichtenstein painting in her art collection. The grants range from between $100,000 to $7.5million and recipients include Color of Change, as well as arts programmes such as the Actors’ Gang and Literature for Justice, a new National Book Foundation initiative.