Saudi Prince who paid $450m for a Da Vinci artwork now spends millions more on painted PUMPKINS
- Installation currently on display at Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami, USA
- Saudi Collection of the Royal Commission for Al-Ula bought it six months ago
- It is thought to have been sold for around $5million by a gallery in London
A Saudi prince who paid $450million for a Da Vinci masterpiece in 2017 has now snapped up a new art installation – despite someone else claiming ownership.
The immersive installation titled All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins is currently on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami, America.
Artist Yayoi Kusama based the piece around her signature yellow spotted pumpkins that were then lit with LED lights and placed inside a mirrored room.
The buyer is believed to be linked to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, one of the world’s richest men, who was said to be behind the Da Vinci purchase in 2017.
The immersive installation titled All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins (pictured) is currently on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami, America
The exhibition arrived in October 12 and is cited on the museum’s website as being on loan from the Saudi Collection of the Royal Commission for Al-Ula, which oversees development of an archaeologically rich region in the northwest of the country.
It is thought that the Saudis bought the Kusama work around six months ago for around $5million despite a German art investment firm already claiming ownership over it.
The pumpkin exhibition is currently supported by the Inigo Philbrick Gallery in Mayfair, London.
The German company, Fine Art Partners, had been partners with Philbrick from around 2015 and had worked closely together to buy, market and sell artworks, according to Artnews.
In 2017, Fine Art Partners bought the Kusama for $3.3million (£2.8million) from an auction house in New York through Philbrick.
It was quickly insured and Philbrick was authorised to store, market and resell the work for a set target price of $5million (3.9million), according to court filings.
Artist Yayoi Kusama based the piece around her signature yellow spotted pumpkins that were then lit with LED lights and placed inside a mirrored room
The exhibition arrived in October 12 and is cited on the museum’s website as being on loan from the Saudi Collection of the Royal Commission for Al-Ula
It is thought that a sale with the Saudis was made shortly afterwards.
In an agreement dated from September 11 earlier this year between Philbrick and the Institute of Contemporary Art states that the pumpkin installation is on loan from a company called MVCA based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
But lists the Collection of the Royal Commission for Al-Ula as the lender’s name for associated labels and publication.
The problem comes as Fine Art Partners began suing Philbrick and his gallery last month over a breach of contract allegation.
It is seeking the return of art worth $14million (£11million) that had been purchased by Philbrick’s gallery, which included the pumpkin room.
It is not known whether the company is aware of the sale of the Kusama installation to the Saudis.
The Institute of Contemporary Art’s deputy director Tommy Pace said: ‘The installation will remain on view as planned through January 31, 2020,’ according to Bloomberg.
He added: ‘The work is on loan to the museum from a private collection. We were not aware of the dispute when the exhibition was planned, but it appears to be an issue between the previous owners.’
The Inigo Philbrick Gallery, Fine Art Partners and Royal Commission for Al-Ula have all been contacted for comment.