Art And Culture

Painting Sets Price Record in Crypto-Currency

Painting Sets Price Record in Crypto-CurrencyPainting Sets Price Record in Crypto-Currency

A Painting by New York mixed media artist Benjamin Katz has been sold for 150 bitcoins, the equivalent of over $1.25 million, a record price in crypto-currency for an artwork.

Bitcoin is the world’s first crypto-currency, a digital asset designed to serve as a medium of exchange or a form of electronic cash sent peer to peer without the need for a financial intermediary.

As the art world continues to adapt to the rise of crypto-currencies, one gallery just may be ahead of the curve. Āto Gallery, an online venture founded by Carrie Eldridge in 2016, has announced the sale of a painting by New York mixed media artist Benjamin Katz for 150 Bitcoins, Artnet News reported.

The new record-breaking sale was made via Instagram, Signal, and Postmates.

The buyer remains unknown. It came as something of a surprise to Eldridge last week when she uploaded an image of Katz’s painting “Chasing Hearts/Northern Lights” to the Āto Gallery website and soon an interested person reached out on Instagram.

After having spoken with both Eldridge and Katz on social media, the collector suggested moving the conversation to Signal, an encrypted messaging service, where he promptly asked how much the piece cost.

Eldridge had not decided yet but knew the work was more costly than the artist’s other offerings, which currently range from $5,000 to $100,000 on the gallery website. “It took Ben at least three months to make that piece,” she said. “It’s very complex, mixed media using wax and paint and melting them together in his oven. He had to wear a gas mask; it was a whole ordeal he went through.”

“The colors clearly represent the auroras over Iceland, and I added the hearts as symbolism for people looking for love; moving in all directions caught up in this powerful magnetic field,” the artist explained in a statement. “I chose the northern lights because of my connections to Iceland, and love for the beauty of that country.”

But while Eldridge was still checking in with her art advisors to determine an appropriate price point, the collector got back to her with the record-breaking offer of 150 bitcoins.

The Katz sale tops the previous record for the world’s most expensive crypto-artwork, set in February with the $1 million Valentine’s Day Sale of “Forever Rose” by Irish conceptual artist Kevin Abosch who claimed to have sold a photo of a potato for $1.5 million.

But unlike Katz’s painting, “Forever Rose” is not a physical artwork, but a digital version of a rose image. It was purchased by a group of 10 investment funds, advisory firms, and other tech-savvy collectors - any of whom can separately sell their stake in the work - with the proceeds going to charity.


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