Art scholar Ben Lewis claims The National Gallery in London knowingly misled bidders prior to the painting’s record-breaking sale in 2017, hiding that a panel of experts did not unanimously deem the work to be authentic, said ‘The Last Leonardo’, a new book excerpted in The Times of London.
Prior to the experts’ 2008 ruling, the painting was valued at $1,175, nypost.com wrote.
Lewis claims that the five appraisers were split: Two said the work was authentic, one said it was not and two said they could not comment, the newspaper reported.
The National Gallery told the Times that it, “makes careful consideration before including any loan in an exhibition.”
In addition to the painting’s value, its location is also in limbo.
At its mega auction sale in 2017, the piece was purchased by an anonymous bidder who was possibly working as a stand-in for the ruler of Saudi Arabia, according to the story.
Though the painting was expected to show at ‘The Louvre Abu Dhabi’, it remains nowhere to be found, The New York Times reported.
The museum has been unable to locate it.