Was the Leonardo Bought as an Investment?: Crazier things have been tried. The French site Le Journal du Dimanche claims to have insight into who bought the Leonardo and why:
- According to our information, this is not another billionaire seized with an irrational exuberance who has made a nine-figure check, but two investment funds acting in concert and in connection with several major museums. All under the leadership of a major player in the art market, a market maker. The assembly is clever. The work thus financed may be sold or rented for several years to major museums which may exhibit it in turn. After seven to nine years of rental, the lessor may exercise his right of first refusal to buy it back to its residual value. …
Bouvier and Sotheby’s File Against Rybolovlev: The long-running battle between Dmitry Rybolovlev and Yves Bouvier has not been resolved by Rybolovlev’s stunning success with the Leonardo. Shortly after the sale, the Russian’s lawyers re-affirmed their pursuit of the Swiss freeport king. His lawyers wrote to a judge in New York to say that they Rybolovlev planned to sue Bouvier and Sotheby’s in a UK court and could they have access to Sotheby’s documents that the New York court had granted in Rybolovlev’s cases in Singapore and Monaco.
In response, Bouvier and Sotheby’s have filed papers seeking to stop what they view as harassment by Rybolovlev and get a single legal determination at the source, Switzerland, where Bouvier and Rybolovlev originally made their agreement.
The auction house also issued this statement: ““Any suggestion that Sotheby’s engaged in fraudulent conduct or conspiracy of any kind is categorically false and we will vigorously defend the company and our employees against any such claims.”
Here’s how Sotheby’s elaborates on the matter in their filing:
- Now, over a year after Petitioners negotiated with Sotheby’s to obtain documents for use in Petitioners’ proceedings against Bouvier in Monaco, France, and Singapore, and months after they chose Switzerland to pursue further charges against him, Petitioners are back before this Court to seek relief in aid of pursuing Bouvier in yet another forum—and this time they intend to sue Sotheby’s as well. The allegations against Sotheby’s are categorically false and will not survive scrutiny under the facts or the law. Sotheby’s had no knowledge of the prices Bouvier charged in any re-sale of any painting to Petitioners, and Sotheby’s derived no financial benefit whatsoever from any such re-sale. Sotheby’s learned of Petitioners’ allegations against Bouvier from press reports that emerged long after the sale of the paintings. Moreover, Sotheby’s only learned through press reports, again long after the sales, about the amounts for which Bouvier was purportedly selling art pieces that Bouvier had purchased. In short, Sotheby’s is not liable for any losses Petitioners allegedly incurred.…
Barry Ritholtz Offers a Little Sane Analysis of the Leonardo Sale’s Relationship to Other Markets: The Bloomberg Ideas columnist doesn’t let himself get carried away buy a half billion dollar art auction:
- “This isn’t a sign of a bubble economy or a top in equities. Why? As we discussed last time out, a single outlier transaction is merely an anecdote, and not a market. Anecdotes tell us what a tiny subset of investors is doing with their money; it doesn’t measure the emotional state of the crowd. Bubbles reflect a collective madness, when the masses go crazy with greed.”