But on Wednesday, Louvre Abu Dhabi (which opened in November) announced the upcoming arrival of the painting on twitter.
The mystery buyer of Leonardo da Vinci's painting "Salvator Mundi", which fetched a record $450.3 million at an auction here last month, is a Saudi prince, a media report said.
It had sold for a mere 45 British pounds in 1958, when the painting was thought to have been a copy, and was lost until it resurfaced at a regional auction in 2005.
On Wednesday, a New York Times investigation revealed the identity of the mysterious buyer, citing insider documents.
As it happens, Prince Bader is a friend and associate of the leader of the purge: the country's 32-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.
The French weekly le Journal du Dimanche earlier reported that two investment firms were behind the painting's purchase as part of a financial arrangement involving several museums.
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But Prince Mohammed, whom the Times describes as King Salman's favored son and key adviser, has himself been criticized for his spending habits, including impulsively spending half a billion dollars on a yacht previous year while at the same time slashing capital spending by 71 percent. Prior to the auction, Christie's lawyers questioned him about his ties to the royal family and the source of his money, which he told them came from real estate.
The crown prince's supporters portray him as a reformer, but the campaign of extrajudicial arrests has been unprecedented for modern Saudi Arabia, worrying western governments about political stability in the world's largest oil producer, alarming rights advocates and investors about the rule of law, and roiling energy markets.
Prince Bader was also made the chairman of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group, which is controlled by the Salman branch of the royal family.
"Prince Mohammed also put Prince Bader in charge of governing a commission overseeing the development of Al Ola, which contains an important archaeological site".
According to the website of a Saudi Arabian energy company, Energy Holdings International, Prince Bader was said to be "one of Saudi Arabia's youngest entrepreneurs".
"Congratulations", Christie's said in a tweeted reply to the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
The Saudi crown prince is a close ally of his counterpart in Abu Dhabi.
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