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Why does Crypto-art break records

On 11 March, the digital work of artist Beeple sent the art market into a new era. Sold at auction for nearly 70 million dollars - a record - it makes Beeple the third most valuable artist in the world, after Jeff Koons and David Hockney. Let's take a look.

Bettina Bush Mignanego

By Bettina Bush Mignanego04 mai 2021

One of the pieces of Beeple's work appearing in "Everydays:the first 5000 days" by Beeple (Beeple)

The artwork, entitled “EVERYDAYS: THE FIRST 5000 DAYS”, went up for auction on February 25 with a symbolic starting price of 100 dollars, but in the last half hour bids went through the roof, jumping from 15 to over 69 million dollars in the final moments. The work itself was years in the making: Beeple, a 39-year-old American graphic designer whose real name is Mike Winkelmann, began posting a single digital artwork a day on social media back in 2007. Thirteen and a half years and five thousand pieces later, the artist (who is known for his collaborations with Nike and LVMH) combined them into the collage that is the massive, final work.

Crypto-art has learned its own language

Created over 5,000 days by the groundbreaking artist Beeple, this monumental collage was the first purely digital artwork (NFT) ever offered at Christie’s sold for $69 million (Beeple)

“Beeple's success is a testament to the exciting possibilities ahead for this nascent marketplace," said Noah Davis, post-war and contemporary art specialist at Christie's. And the auction house is the first to handle NFTs (non-fungible tokens), digital assets protected by a certificate of authenticity.

The artist Beeple, whose real name is Mike Winkelmann (DR)

Barbara Tagliaferri, author of the 2021 Art and Collectibles Market Report by Deloitte Private Italia with a focus on “Art in the times of Covid-19”, discussed the effects of going digital with Ernesto Lanzillo, Pietro Ripa and Roberta Ghilardi. The report was presented online and saw the participation of several representatives of the art sector, including the deputy director of the Vatican Museums, Mons. Paolo Nicolini; Mariolina Bassetti, president of Christie's; the Maestro Ugo Nespolo; as well as two gallery owners, Tommaso Calabro, of the eponymous Milan gallery, and Verusca Piazzesi, director of Continua. Together, they analyzed developments in the digital art market in 2020 – the year when the overall business volume on the art market dropped by 29% and going digital only partially compensated for the losses.

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