Russian billionaireDmitry Rybolovlev bought “Salvator Mundi” for $127.5 million in 2013. AFP/Tolga Akmen
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What is the only Da Vinci painting on the open market worth?"Salvator Mundi," a painting of Jesus Christ by the Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci circa 1500, is the star lot in New York's November art auctions that will see Christie's and Sotheby's chase combined art sales of more than $1 billion.All other known paintings by Da Vinci are held in museum or institutional collections.Christie's has sought to emphasize Da Vinci's inestimable contribution to art history by hanging "Salvator Mundi" next to Andy Warhol's "Sixty Last Suppers" – which depicts Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" 60 times over, also on sale with a $50 million estimate.Sotheby's, whose May sales languished behind Christie's, says it has more than 60 works making their auction debuts this week.Chief among them is Francis Bacon's "Three Studies of George Dyer," valued at $35-45 million, and which it says is appearing in public for the first time in 50 years.Painted in 1966 during his passionate relationship with Dyer, two other such triptychs are in museums and two others have been offered at auction in recent years.
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