LEONARDO IN LIMBO: AN ECONOMIC EVALUATION

By Robert B. Ekelund, Jr., Richard Higgins and John D. Jackson

Interest in recent art “discoveries” and attributions is at high pitch. Most starling has been a “new” Leonardo initially sold for a modest price in a regional New Orleans auction house then only to become the most expensive painting ever sold at auction at almost half a billion dollars. Attributions are changing constantly depending on a consensus of “experts,” with changes motivated by new evidence or connoisseurship as in the case of a recent Rembrandt attribution. But for some of these works, expert opinion substitutes for falsification. That is an issue for Da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi and it can be related to the economic nature of certain goods.

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