Auction house Christie’s has sold a record 42 different pieces of art on the blockchain for a whopping $317.8 million.


Information regarding the auction was recorded on a private Ethereum-based blockchain managed by the software company Artory. It’s the first time an art auction of this price level has been recorded on the blockchain.

Getting All the Details

A press release for Christie’s details the kind of art that was sold. It states:

On an historic night for American art, ‘An American Place: The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection Evening Sale’ at Christie’s in New York realized $317,801,250. Thirteen artist auction records were set and two records by medium, including that for the most expensive work of pre-war American art with Edward Hopper’s ‘Chop Suey,’ which sold for $91,875,000 (including buyer’s premium). The greatest privately-owned collection of American Modernist art ever to come to market produced deep bidding, as Ebsworth’s laser-like focus on buying only the best was reflected in the competition for museum-quality works by artists of the caliber of Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Demuth, Joseph Stella, Charles Sheeler, Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.

Which Artists Were Popular?

Bidders from roughly 23 different countries came to place their bets on the available art pieces. Other notable works that sold for big bucks included Pollock’s “Composition with Red Strokes,” which went for a whopping $55.4 million on its own.

Artory runs what it calls “The Registry,” a distributed ledger system that records notable events and circumstances pertaining to modern art. Data such as item titles, descriptions, auction dates and final prices are encrypted and stored on the system. The identities of art owners and buyers are kept anonymous, and individuals are given secure digital records of their artwork’s history. Each sale generates a new art certificate to boost confidence in the growth of the market.

Keeping the Momentum Going

Last Thursday, an additional 49 more works from the Ebsworth collection were put up for auction. This sale was also recorded into the Artory blockchain. Christie’s mentioned that the auction season has thus far garnered funds exceeding $650 million.

Commenting on the use of blockchain technology, the press release states:

The sale also marked the first time an art auction at this price level has been recorded on a blockchain via a secure digital registry administered by Artory, a leading art-centric technology provider. The introduction of this technology for the sale of the Barney A. Ebsworth Collection continues Christie’s legacy of leading the industry by introducing innovations in the context of major collections for the ultimate benefit of our clients.

Could the blockchain assist art-related ventures in other ways? Post your thoughts below.


Images courtesy of ShutterStock

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