In 2005 a small auction house in New Orleans sold a painting for just over a thousand dollars. On taking possession, the new owners were blown away. They began a process of establishing the painting’s provenance, which lead them to believe it was the Salvator Mundi, a long-lost masterpiece by Renaissance painter Leonardo da Vinci.
In 2017, the same painting became the most expensive ever sold at auction. An anonymous buyer paying 450.3 million US dollars, even though to this day, there are still genuine questions about its authenticity.
The road from discovery to record breaking sale is a story like none other in the art world, and is now the subject of a new documentary The Lost Leonardo and can be seen in cinemas in level 2 areas.
Evan Beard, Bank of America’s global arts services executive is something of a Salvator Mundi insider, and features in the documentary. He spoke to Francesca Rudkin about the incredible story.