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Picasso meets NFTs as art continues digital march

The year saw Christie's sell NFTs worth $150 million. And Sotheby's launched Metaverse, a dedicated platform aimed at digital collectors, offering a curated selection of NFTs chosen by its in-house specialists.

Written by Vandana Kalra | New Delhi |
Updated: January 28, 2022 7:53:37 am
Reflective one, Image/Beeple/twitter

The Collins Dictionary Word of the Year for 2021, NFT (non-fungible token) created a significant buzz in the art world last year.

In March 2021, Mike Winkelmann, better known perhaps by his professional name Beeple, became the third most valuable living artist after his digital artwork ‘Everydays: the First 5,000 Days’ sold at a Christie’s auction for $69 million.

The year saw Christie’s sell NFTs worth $150 million. And Sotheby’s launched Metaverse, a dedicated platform aimed at digital collectors, offering a curated selection of NFTs chosen by its in-house specialists.

This year too has begun on a promising note for NFTs in art. Picasso’s granddaughter and great grandson have announced that they would be making and selling NFTs of the master’s 1958 ceramic work in their collection.

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Picasso NFTs

Picasso’s heirs have announced they will be selling 1,010 digital art pieces of the artist’s 1958 ceramic bowl that has reportedly never been put on public display before.

Online sale of some of the NFTs will begin later this week on the Nifty Gateway and Origin Protocol platforms. The NFTs come with music put together by Picasso’s grandson Florian, who is a DJ and music producer, along with songwriter John Legend and rapper Nas.

It has been reported that some of the sale proceeds will go to a charity that aims to help overcome a shortage of nurses, and to a nongovernmental organisation working towards reducing carbon in the atmosphere.

The significance

The sale underlines the deep inroads of crypto in art.

In April 2021, Justin Sun, founder of TRON and CEO of BitTorrent, released the world’s first Picasso NFT through his Just NFT fund. It marked the “first show” of Picasso’s works on blockchain.

In an open letter, Sun wrote, “JUST NFT fund was born to build a bridge between top-notch artists and blockchain, and to support the growth of native crypto NFT artists.”

In June 2021, the Binance NFT marketplace hosted the auction titled ‘Genesis’, which included NFT artwork from Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali.

The Russian State Hermitage Museum also turned to Binance for its auction of tokenized collectibles on an NFT platform—selling NFT versions of works by Wassily Kandinsky, Leonardo Da Vinci, Claude Monet and Vincent van Gogh, among others.

Picasso in the news

The announcement by Picasso’s heirs comes at a time when another work by the artist is also in the spotlight — in the same private collection for almost half a century, the master’s La Fenêtre Ouverte will be part of a Christie’s auction in March. The surreal work painted in 1929 is estimated to fetch £14-24 million.

Last year, Picasso’s Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Therese) was the most expensive work sold at an auction, garnering $103.4 million at a Christie’s auction in New York in May.

The coming weekend will also see the opening of Picasso and the Allure of the South at The Dalí museum in the US. According to the museum’s website, the exhibition “explores the influence of southern Europe on Pablo Picasso’s revolutionary work”.

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