The Norfolk Society of Arts Uncovers the Mystery Surrounding One of the Most Expensive Paintings in the World
NORFOLK, Va. (Jan. 3, 2019) – Discover the mystery behind one of the most expensive paintings in the world and learn about ongoing efforts to authenticate it when the Norfolk Society of Arts (NSA) presents Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi: The History, Technique and Revelation of a Lost Masterpiece with Nica Gutman Rieppi, Principal Investigator for Art Analysis and Research. The NSA lecture will be held Jan. 23 at the Chrysler Museum of Art and is free and open to the public. The program will begin with a coffee reception at 10:30 a.m. in Huber Court. The lecture will follow at 11 a.m. in Kaufman Theater.
In November 2017, Salvator Mundi, a painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, was sold at auction in New York for approximately $450 million, the highest price ever achieved by a work of art at auction. Initially, the buyer remained anonymous but was later identified as a Saudi Prince. The painting was slated to be unveiled in September 2018 at The Louvre Abu Dhabi; however, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism announced that the unveiling has been postponed. A new date has not been announced.
Believed to be the painting by Leonardo previously owned by royalty in both France and England, Salvator Mundi disappeared from public view for many years and only recently resurfaced, raising questions about its provenance and making its authenticity unclear. “The history of the painting is a fascinating one. That it has been attributed to the great Leonardo da Vinci makes it all the more compelling,” said Susan Quate, the NSA Lecture Committee Chair. “As with all paintings that have been lost and rediscovered, there are doubters and then those like our speaker who have spent years doing painstaking research analyzing the painting’s technique and materials.”
Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519, and fewer than 20 of his paintings exist today. Salvator Mundi is believed to be the only privately-owned work by the artistic genius and the only one to appear in a public sale in over 100 years. Before showing up at the New York auction, the painting sold at an auction house in New Orleans for $10,000 to a group of Old Master dealers who recognized the possibility it may have been the long-lost Leonardo. It was then owned by a Swiss dealer and then a Russian collector before landing in the hands of the Saudi Prince. Still, much of the painting’s ownership history remains a mystery. “There are multiple rumors swirling around the painting, questioning its whereabouts. Our speaker is eminently qualified to speak about this remarkable painting, and we look forward to her sharing her knowledge and insights into this masterpiece,” Quate said.
ABOUT THE NORFOLK SOCIETY OF ARTS
Founded in 1917, the Norfolk Society of Arts (NSA) was established to foster a rich cultural arts community in Norfolk. The members displayed works of art collected by area residents and, most notably, spearheaded the initial fundraising efforts to open what is now the Chrysler Museum of Art. Immediately following the Museum’s opening, the NSA organized concerts, lectures and recitals to foster an appreciation for the arts. Over the years, the NSA has remained committed to the Chrysler’s mission of bringing art and people together. The group has funded tours for Norfolk Public Schools students, underwritten collection catalogs, supported the Jean Outland Chrysler Library, and played a pivotal role in outfitting the Chrysler’s Kaufman Theater with an induction-loop system to improve the experience for visitors who wear hearing aids. In 2017, the NSA marked their 100th anniversary with a generous gift to the Chrysler, Jacob Caleb Ward’s Natural Bridge. The American artwork by the Hudson River School artist was long held in private hands and allows the Chrysler to tell a more complete story about the history of landscape painting in America. The NSA’s free lecture series was established in the 1950s and continues to bring notable curators, historians, architects, journalists, professors and others to the Chrysler.
ABOUT THE CHRYSLER MUSEUM OF ART
The Chrysler Museum of Art is one of America’s most distinguished mid-sized art museums, with a nationally recognized collection of more than 30,000 objects, including one of the great glass collections in America. The core of the Chrysler’s collection comes from Walter P. Chrysler, Jr., an avid art collector who donated thousands of objects from his private collection to the Museum. The Museum has growing collections in many areas and mounts an ambitious schedule of visiting exhibitions and educational programs each season. The Chrysler has also been recognized nationally for its unique commitment to hospitality with its innovative gallery host program.
The Perry Glass Studio is a state-of-the-art facility on the Museum’s campus. The studio offers programming for aspiring and master artists alike in a variety of processes including glassblowing, fusing, flameworking, coldworking and neon. The studio has also cultivated a reputation for its cutting-edge performance evenings, and was the host venue of the 2017 Glass Arts Society Conference.
In addition, the Chrysler Museum of Art administers two historic houses in downtown Norfolk: the Moses Myers House and the Willoughby-Baylor House, as well as the Jean Outland Chrysler Library on the campus of Old Dominion University. General admission is free at all venues. For more information on the Chrysler Museum of Art, visit chrysler.org.
For more information, interview assistance, or a high-resolution image suitable for publication, please contact Amber Kennedy at The Meridian Group at (757) 340-7425 or Amber@themeridiangroup.com.