Although Louvre Abu Dhabi's statement appears to contradict these earlier reports, the declaration does not make it clear if the work was bought by Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism or donated to it, possibly by a Saudi Arabian prince. The work was acquired by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi for the museum.
The Saudi Arabian embassy in Washington, D.C., says that a painting by Leonardo da Vinci that sold for $450 million at an auction in NY was purchased by a member of the royal family on behalf of a museum in the United Arab Emirates.
Believed to be the last Da Vinci in private hands, "Salvator Mundi" commanded four times what Christie's had projected and the most ever paid for a work of art, even as skeptics questioned its authenticity.
United States intelligence assessments seen by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal identified Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the heir to the Saudi throne, as the buyer of the Renaissance artist's work.
While most are scattered around the world, the Louvre Abu Dhabi will now have two of these paintings.
Prince Mohammed, in turn, has been called an admirer of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In a 30-year deal worth a reported €1 billion ($1.18 billion), the French Louvre assists with exhibition management, offers advice and lends artworks to its Middle Eastern franchise.
The firm's website describes him as "one of Saudi Arabia's youngest" entrepreneurs, present in sectors including real estate, telecommunications and recycling.
Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519 and there are fewer than 20 of his paintings in existence.
Bought a $450M painting?
Perhaps that explains why the Saudi embassy, in an e-mail to reporters, said: "In light of the erroneous reports on the da Vinci painting purchase, the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has issued a statement to set the record straight".
If the painting of Christ raising a hand in blessing had been bought by someone who planned to keep it in NY, the buyer would be on the hook to pay an 8.875 percent state and local sales tax, which on a $450 million purchase would amount to around $39 million (30 million euros), said Jason Kleinman, a lawyer who advises art collectors on the tax consequences of their purchases.