Billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev tried to sell the picture of El Greco "Christ says goodbye to his mother" at the recently held auction Christie's, but he did not succeed, writes The Financial Times.
The canvas, written in 1578-1580, was bought by a Russian businessman through art dealer Iva Bouvier, with whom he collaborated for several years. The total value of works of art, bought by Rybolovlev with the help of Bouvier, is about $ 2 billion.
In January 2015, the billionaire filed a complaint against Bouvier in Monaco: the businessman believes that the art dealer, whom Rybolovlev considered his agent, deceived him, forcing him to overpay about $ 1 billion. The art dealer's lawyers insisted on the case in Switzerland, and in April 2017 The Supreme Court of Singapore ruled that a long-term dispute should be considered in a Swiss court.
According to court documents, the billionaire bought a painting (then called "The Portrait of Jesus and the Madonna") in 2012 for € 48 million. Henry Pettifer, in charge of the paintings of the old masters at Christie's, says that this time it was "realistically" evaluated - In the amount of £ 4-6 million (€ 4.5-6.8 million), that is approximately 88% below the purchase price in 2012. Nevertheless, it was never sold. The representatives of Rybolovlev and Bouvier did not comment on this information.
The publication notes that the work of old masters in principle enjoy low demand in the art market, "obsessed" by contemporary artists. In general, Sotheby's was more successful than Christie's (in both houses in July there were auctions of works by old masters) - if the first sold 85% of 68 lots for a total of £ 45 million, Christie's collected Christie's £ 37.9 million, selling 75% of 48 Works. "Healthy results for an undervalued area," sums up the FT.