New York: A digital collage by American artist Beeple, a pioneer in the exploding virtual art market, has sold for a record $ 69.3 million, Christie’s announced Thursday.
“Everydays: The First 5,000 Days” is now the most expensive “non-fungible token” ever sold, a sign of long-term confidence in the booming market that creates collectible digital assets by turning virtual work into something. accessible thing.
Beeple – an artist from Charleston, South Carolina, real name Mike Winkelmann – is now among the three most treasured living artists, Christie’s said.
“Everydays” is based on a long-term project: from May 1, 2007, when he was still a bored web designer, he sought to create a work of art every day, without interruption, in order to progress in drawing and graphics. design.
Today, 5,062 consecutive days later, “Everydays” digitally collects its first 5,000 pieces, starting with a simple image of his uncle Jim and ending with a detailed graphic portrait of characters from Donald Trump to Buzz Lightyear at Michael Jackson, represented as dystopian muses around a child’s drawing.
Since 2007, Beeple has accumulated nearly two million followers on Instagram and has collaborated with major brands and famous musicians, attracted by its graphic universe.
But he had never sold a work under his own name until recently, when new technology catapulted him into orbit as one of the world’s hottest artists.
NFTs are collectible digital assets that use blockchain technology to transform virtual work into something unique, with documented provenance that cannot be altered, ensuring authenticity and making the work proprietary.
This goes for just about everything on the internet where, previously, content by nature was easy to duplicate.
At the end of February, another of his works, “Crossroads”, was sold for $ 6.6 million on the Nifty Gateway platform, which specializes in virtual works. Beeple received 10 percent.
And an animation he himself sold at the end of October last year for a symbolic dollar was recently acquired for $ 150,000.
The five most expensive works by living artists
“Rabbit”, Jeff Koons
The stainless steel cast of an inflatable bunny hit a record living artist price of $ 91.1 million at Christie’s in May 2019.
Just over a meter tall (41 inches), the 1986 work is one of the most famous works by Koons, 66.
The piece was auctioned off from the collection of the late publishing mogul SI Newhouse, whose empire included Conde Nast, who published magazines like Vogue, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair.
Although expensive, it is paltry compared to the $ 450 million paid in 2017 for Leonardo da Vinci’s “Salvator Mundi” painting, the most expensive work of art in the world.
‘Portrait of an Artist’, David Hockney
The previous living artist record was held by British-born painter David Hockney for “Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures)”, which grossed $ 90.3 million in November 2018.
Completed in 1972, the colorful oil painting shows an elegantly dressed man standing by the pool and thoughtfully gazing at another figure swimming underwater towards him.
“Every day: the first 5,000 days”, Beeple
A digital collage by American artist Beeple sold for a record $ 69.3 million on Thursday at Christie’s in New York City, making it the most expensive digital work of all time.
The artist – real name Mike Winkelmann – was still a bored web designer who had sold nothing when he started creating one piece a day in May 2007.
The project lasted 13 years and was sold as a ‘non-fungible token’ (NFT) coin, using blockchain technology to ensure its uniqueness and authenticity.
‘Balloon Dog (Orange)’, Jeff Koons
One of Koons’ now classic balloon dog sculptures made history by collecting $ 58.4 million in 2013, then the record for a living artist.
It is one of five sculptures of Koons dogs in different colors that appear to be made from balloons that have become icons of contemporary art.
‘Hurt Radio Word # 2’, Ed Ruscha
The oil painting by American pop artist Ed Ruscha was sold by Christie’s in November 2019 for $ 52.4 million.
The 1964 painting, measuring 1.5 meters by 1.4 meters, depicts the word “radio” in large yellow capital letters, mimicking the letters found in advertisements. Some letters are distorted by defects on a blue sky background.