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Leonardo da Vinci painting sells for more than $450 million, breaking all-time art auction record

A Leonardo da Vinci painting sold for more than $450 million on Wednesday, according to auction house Christie's, which said that it topped a world record for any work of art sold at an auction.

The painting, called "Salvator Mundi," Italian for "Savior of the World," is one of fewer than 20 paintings by Leonardo known to exist and the only one in private hands. It was sold by Christie's auction house, which didn't immediately identify the buyer.

The highest price ever paid for a work of art at auction had been $179.4 million (152 million euros), for Picasso's "Women of Algiers (Version O)" in May 2015, also at Christie's in New York. The highest known sale price for any artwork had been $300 million (253 million euros), for Willem de Kooning's "Interchange," sold privately in September 2015 by the David Geffen Foundation to hedge fund manager Kenneth C. Griffin.

Christie's says most scholars agree that the painting is by Leonardo, though some critics have questioned the attribution and some say the extensive restoration muddies the work's authorship.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.