Christie’s claims first major art auction recorded on blockchain – to the tune of $317 million

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Auction company Christie’s recently concluded the Part One of its sale of ‘An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection’, which totalled $317,801,250 – with the first time an art auction at this price level has been recorded on a blockchain.

The sale of this 20th Century American art collection is said to have sold 88% by lot and 99% by value.

Christie’s, alongside art-centric technology provider Artory, joined hands to create a secure digital registry for the sale of the Ebsworth Collection. Following are the highlights of the collection:

  • Edward Hopper’s Chop Suey (1929), which is the most important work by the artist still in private hands, garnered $91,875,000
  • Willem de Kooning’s Woman as Landscape (1965–1966) achieved $68,937,500, whereas Jackson Pollock’s Composition with Red Strokes (1950) was sold for $55,437,500.

Additional auction records were achieved for Arshile Gorky, John Marin, Joseph Stella, Gaston Lachaise, Tom Otterness, Leon Polk Smith, Suzy Frelinghuysen, George Tooker, David Smith, Francis Criss, Charles Green Shaw, and Patrick Henry Bruce.

This is by no means Christie’s first foray into exploring blockchain technologies. In July the auctioneers hosted the Art+Tech Summit conference in London that entailed discussions on how technology is shaping the future of the art market. The Summit gathered top thought leaders, innovators, companies and academics, who were part of the event that was co-curated with Christie’s Education and Vastari – an online service provider that connects museums, exhibition producers, venues, collectors and suppliers for more efficient exhibitions. The event explored the potential applications of the blockchain technology within the art market while giving an overarching view of its successes (and failures) in wider industries.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more at the Blockchain Expo World Series, Global, Europe and North America.

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