The art world’s biggest news this week came from the market—namely, the sale of a long-lost Leonardo da Vinci painting, Salvator Mundi. Allegedly commissioned by King Louis XII of France around half a millennium ago, the work caused a stir after selling for $450m at Christie’s in New York (the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction). The sale was unusual in numerous ways: the work was placed in a contemporary sale; despite its hefty sum, many experts criticized the quality of the heavy restoration work; and New York art critic Jerry Saltz shredded the case for its authenticity as an original Leonardo masterpiece.
Although this was undoubtedly the sale of the week, it would be remiss not to mention Britney Spears’s art debut. Video footage of the newfound painter at work was posted to Instagram earlier this month; she has a penchant for loose, splashy flowers, and the painting in question sold for $10,000 at auction. Think what you will of the work, the sale was in aid of a good cause as proceeds go to Vegas Cares, who will build a memorial for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
Russian artists are poking fun at the regime of Vladimir Putin from London in a new show about post-Soviet protest art at the Saatchi gallery. Pussy Riot are participating, as is Oleg Kulik, the “artist-animal” who often performs as a dog.
Austria’s capital (and Europe’s capital of cake) opened its art doors for Vienna Art Week, led by the city’s key auction house Dorotheum. Two works on paper by Egon Schiele are going up for auction at the house—the pieces have rarely been seen on the market and are being sold by a family who have owned them for seventy years. You can read more about the Art Week from our Elephant on the ground, who happened to dine with a Spanish cyborg artist during her time in the city—she has an implant in her foot that allows her to sense earthquakes.