How Blockchain is Changing the Art Industry

Blockchain technology is more prevalent than much of the public realizes. It is still in its infancy, but many companies are employing their own private blockchains. Public blockchains, like Bitcoin and Ethereum are what most people are familiar with. Their advantages extend much further than the internal efficiencies promised by private blockchains. The art world is turning to blockchain to solve issues plaguing the industry. Some of the problems facing the art industry include:

  • antiquated property transactions
  • illegal activities
  • inefficiency in the auction process

 

Art is an international business. Buying and selling, as well as auction practices, need a blockchain based common ledger. It would serve as a neutral medium for international transactions to take place. But, blockchain technology is more than just a digital ledger. It enables elaborate new methods for data management. Blockchain improves value chains because of its distributed and transparent approach to record keeping. In addition to revolutionizing data management practices, blockchain shows a resounding proficiency to thwart both fraud and tax evasion.

 

Transparency is critical to the value chain of art ownership. Blockchain technology certifies transactions with tokens. Tokens transfer from buyers to seller at purchase. They transfer each time a piece is sold. Blockchain tracks the ownership record. This transparent and distributed ledger enables anyone to view the entire history of a piece. Fraud is minimized because any potential buyer can simply examine the owner’s claim via their crypto wallet.

 

Blockchain expects to impact all areas of the art industry. It directly affects:

  • artists
  • collectors
  • investors
  • auction houses

 

Artists, especially visual ones, believe in blockchain security. Uniquely coded virtual pieces represent a growing trend. These unique strings of code serve to authenticate purchases for collectors and artist compensation. Registrations are viewable alongside corresponding time-stamps. Auction houses are incorporating digital certification to improve operations through increased transparency and secured long-term records. Art investors have taken advantage of blockchain tokenization to promote fractional investments. Since ownership is ensured on a malleable digital platform, investors can purchase and liquidate pieces of art as easily as trading stocks.

 

Art records have historically been the subject of intense scrutiny. Blockchain technology brings a new solution that many professionals are praising.

How to Choose the Right Auction House for Your Art

The high end art market is dominated by three main auction houses, Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips de Pury & Luxembourg. These three powerhouses have existed for centuries. When choosing an auction house from these three for your art, it’s important to take a variety of factors into consideration.

Guarantees

Obviously money is an important factor in selling your art. Many auction houses’ success has stemmed from their guarantees, which ensure that the seller receives the amount of money they expect for their art regardless of how much it is is sold for at the auction.

Guarantees, however, can lead to conflict, especially when the top three high end auction houses are trying to work with a limited number of the same collectors. Remember that money is not normally the deciding factor when collectors are choosing an auction house. Clients often place more importance on personal relationships and the auction house’s past record.

Relationships

Personal relationships are one of the most important factors in choosing an art auction house. These days, clients have a lot to be worried about: dips in the economy, terrorist attacks, and talk of price fixing. They’re looking for an art auction house that is reassuring, personal, and professional. In a consignment based industry such as art auctions, networking and word of mouth referrals are extremely important. Each of the auction houses have different connections with sellers, clients, and fields.

Field Speciality

Each of the three high end houses have unique specialties. Sotheby’s is known for their expertise in American furniture and photography, while Christie’s specializes in European furniture, as well as books and manuscripts. While to an extent Phillips is still establishing its business, the auction house seems to be focusing on Impressionist, Modern, and contemporary art. Phillips now also includes one of the top automobile auctioneers, Bonham & Brooks. The best auction house will have a specialty that matches your art.

Track Record

Past performance is another important factor to take into consideration when selecting an art auction house. Christie’s is one of the world’s top art auction houses. In 2000 they had $2.3 billion in sales! Sotheby’s, on the other hand, has won 20 of the top 25 single-owner sales. These included the estate sales of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. It’s important to choose an art auction house with a track record that matches your goals.

When selecting one of the top three high-end auction houses, you need to consider their financial guarantees, the relationships you’ll be able to build, their field speciality, and past track record.

 

Inside the AI-Created Piece of Art

The day has come where Artificial Intelligence is now creating works of art. Many of us never thought we would see the day, and for many more of us, the thought that this day might come never even occurred to us. But, “robots” are creating art – and the first piece has sold for $432,500.

The high price tag was unexpected, as officials predicted it to go for anywhere between $7,000 and $10,000. That is the beauty of auctions such as Christie’s, the art house in NYC where this was sold. Christie’s wonders if AI art creation is the next big medium for the world stage.

The AI system that created this artwork, which is titled “Portrait of Edmond Belamy,” was constructed with a learning algorithm; both the AI system and the algorithm were designed by an art collective in Paris called Obvious.

There are similarities to this painting that compare to those famous ones through history. Many believe the subject matter, Edmond Belamy, is a man of the church due to his white collar and dark clothes. The man looks toward the painter in an austere manner with a fixed but abstract background. Conversely, the face is less defined than those in many paintings which it would be compared to. Christie’s offers this difference, along with the empty areas of the background.

The painting was described by Richard Lloyd, sale organizer at Christie’s, as not being much different from those that they have been selling for hundreds of years.
The process, on the other hand, was vastly different than any other painting that has been through Christie’s. Obvious, the art collective, put a total of 15,000 portraits from between the 14th and 20th centuries into the Artificial Intelligence learning system, then activated the “Generator” to create a new image. After the “Generator,” the next step is the “Discriminator,” which works to find the differences between the original portraits and those generated. The goal is, essentially, to fool the discriminator.

Obvious has experienced with AI-created art in many subjects, from portraits and life scenes to nature, but have found their best results with traditional style portraits.

While this may open up questions about who the official artist is to receive credit, Obvious chose to “sign” the painting at the bottom, not with a name, but with a part of the algorithm they created.

What to Know about Robin Williams’ Art Collection Sale

The late comedian and Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams was known for his wild standup routines and a wide variety of movie and television performances.

 

Maybe that is why his collection of artwork bears a similar diverse portfolio of some extraordinary and eclectic pieces.

 

Sotheby’s New York is selling the art collection owned by Williams and his former wife Marsha on Thursday, October 4th. The sale is titled: “Creating a Stage: The Collection of Marsha and Robin Williams,” and now the public will have the chance to bid on these personal items. Williams was married to Marsha Garces Williams for 20 years, and the couple was avid collectors.

 

The Williams family has decided that proceeds from the auction will be divided among several of the late star’s favorite charities. Some of these organizations include the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Juilliard School, Wounded Warrior Project and Challenged Athletes Foundation.

 

The sale is expected to realize between $3.3 million to $4.7 million, according to Sotheby’s New York.

 

Robin Williams was revered for his unique sense of humor, and the range of objects from his interesting art collection that he shared with his then-wife Marsha reflects their vision. The works feature pricey sculptures, paintings, timepieces, sports and movie memorabilia, a selection of bicycles and design.

 

For instance, the first edition of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot (est. $1,500–2,500) is up for auction. Williams starred with Steve Martin in the 1988 production at Lincoln Center.

 

A Gryffindor robe worn by actor Daniel Radcliffe in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is also up for grabs (est. $10,000-$15,000).

 

Robin Williams’s Golden Globe award for his winning role in “Good Morning Vietnam” will also be up on the auction block for bidding (est. $15,000–20,000).

 

A colorful and striking contemporary sculpture titled ” Le poète et sa muse” by artist Niki de Saint-Phalle is also part of the art collection sale (est. $350-450,000).

 

Even the actor’s famous Hollywood Walk of Fame star plaque (1990) can be bid on by the public (est. $3,000-5,000). It was presented to Williams by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce on the day of the placement of his star.

 

Robin Williams was 63 when he committed suicide in 2014. It was reported that he was suffering from depression.

 

Everything You Should Know About the Rockefeller Art Collection

Staying true to the Rockefeller legacy, David Rockefeller is still breaking records even after his death last year. The last surviving grandson of America’s first billionaire John D. Rockefeller, David Rockefeller’s private art collection recently became the most valuable single-owner private sale in American history, with more than 1,500 pieces being auctioned off in a four-day period. The impressive collection included works by Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Georgia O’Keeffe and Pablo Picasso.


Though now considered one of the greatest art collectors of the 20th century, Rockefeller had no interest in art collection until Marga Barr, wife of the Museum of Modern Art’s first director, visited his home in 1948 and 
insulted the art he had on the walls. After that, Rockefeller and his wife Peggy decided to increase the quality of art they displayed in their home. Barr and her husband helped educate the Rockefellers about late 19th-century and early 20th-century artwork and offered them guidance as they started to acquired Impressionist and modern pieces.

 

The massive collection contains more than just paintings; the Rockefellers also collected furniture and porcelain, including a 256-piece Sèvres dessert service set that Napoleon brought with him after being exiled to Elba. The set sold for $1.8 million, setting a record for highest price paid for 19th-century porcelain.

As a child, Rockefeller’s father expected he give one-third of his allowance to charity. The importance of giving back to others was a lesson stayed with him until his death; all of the money raised at the auction will go to various nonprofit organizations close to Rockefeller’s heart, including the Museum of Modern Art, Harvard University, Rockefeller University and the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.


After the four-day auction concluded,
22 world records were broken and all pieces were sold for a total of $832 million. On the first night alone, over $646 million was made in sales. A “Rose Period” piece of Picasso’s, Fillette a la corbeille fleurie, sold for $115 million, the highest ever paid for a painting from that period of his work. This piece was previously owned by Gertrude Stein and was obtained by Rockefeller after the death of her partner Alice B. Toklas. A piece from Monet’s water lilies collection, Nympheas en fleur, sold for $84.7 million, the highest ever paid for one of his works. And, a Henri Matisse painting, Odalisque couchée aux magnolias, sold for $80 million, also a record-high for one of his pieces.