Christie’s to auction off purely digital artwork for first time

Online bidding for ‘Everydays – The First 5000 Days’ by Beeple will start at $100 later this month, the auction house announced.

Christie's has auctioned off physical works of art and precious objects for more than 200 years, but the auction of Beeple's piece will be the first time it sells a piece of purely digital art [File: Kathy Willens/AP Photo]

Christie’s on Tuesday said it was putting up for sale what it described as the first-ever purely digital artwork offered by a major auction house.

“Everydays – The First 5000 Days”, by the American digital artist known as Beeple, comprises all the works of art that he has made over the course of 13 years.

Christie’s in New York said that because the venture was so new for the auction house, bidding in the February 27 to March 11 online sale would start at just $100.

The artwork carries what is known as a non-fungible token (NFT), a unique digital token that is encrypted with the artist’s signature and that verifies the work’s ownership and authenticity and is permanently attached to the piece.

The auction comes at a time of rapid expansion of the digital art market, where creators use computer-generated imagery, scanned photos, manipulated videos and other media to create original work.

The recent introduction of NFTs opens the way for digital art to be sold in the same way as traditional paintings and sculptures.

“Not unlike the advent of Street Art as a blue chip-collecting category, NFT-based art is on the threshold of becoming the next ingeniously disruptive force in the art market,” Noah Davis, Christie’s specialist in post-war and contemporary art, said in a statement.

Wisconsin-based Beeple started his “Everydays” project in 2007, vowing to create and post online a new work of art every day. “The First 5000 Days” comprises all of them in a single composition.

Beeple has a large following and has worked with pop singers like Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber to created visuals for their concerts. His artwork was also featured in Louis Vuitton’s women’s spring 2019 fashion collection.

The Christie’s auction follows its sale in October 2018 of a portrait produced entirely by artificial intelligence.

“Portrait of Edmond Belamy,” by the French art collective Obvious, sold for $432,500 and was described as the first portrait generated by an algorithm to come up for auction.

Source: Reuters