Gustav Klimt’s “kiss” “cut” 10,000. pieces. Revolution in the art market?

If you enter five “Klimt” letters in the search engine for the Vienna Belvedere Museum’s online store, you can browse endlessly among the results. There are books and catalogs about the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt and, of course, postcards with his paintings. The most beautiful Art Nouveau motifs can be obtained in the form of posters, artistic prints, with or without a signature.

In the store you will find small and large vases with Klimt motifs, Klimt pictures for folding origami, boxes with Klimt magnets. In fact, Klimt umbrellas, Klimt coffee cups, Klimt silk scarves, Klimt shoulder bags, and Klimt patterned sofa cushions were common in large museum stores.

So why not make Klimt a digital copy of NFT?

Klimt is a brand. Why? Because his painting style is unique, highly decorative, internationally understood, world-famous and astronomically expensive (as soon as the originals hit the market). The Vienna Museum at the Belvedere Palace has “Kiss”, one of the artist’s most famous works of 1908/09, but the museum cannot sell it. And he decided to do it again. Thousands of pieces!

Belweder Director, Wolfgang Bergman, 10 thousand “removed”. so-called high-precision digital image fragments that cannot be exchanged (Unacceptable Tokens or NFT). It should be noted that the NFT files that attacked the art market last year are digital certificates of authenticity. Infinitely reproducible data placed in a blockchain can be linked to a single host (probably even unchanged and resistant to fraud). Digital images, sounds, written documents and virtual artifacts have thus become commercial as unique examples.

Now there is a huge market for NFT, not just in the art trade. However, especially in the arts and crafts industry, these certifications have made a significant contribution to the development of digital art, which has never been used for commercial purposes before. Millions of dollars are spent by new collectors, IT-savvy investors and risk-takers. They are converting them into cryptocurrencies, which has become the last currency in the gaming industry.

Photo: ALAMY LIMITED / Agencja BE&W

Kissing (painted by Gustav Klimt)

NFT is also a new source of income for museums, thanks to which they can earn money from unsold paintings. Or at least try. Viennese Belvedere tests himself in Klimt. Files with thousands of “Kiss” details have been turned into virtual assets. NFT kisses will be “thrown”, as the cryptocurrency says, on Valentine’s Day.

Sales on the specially created platform (you can order NFT with an “individual love device”) ended on February 14. There was a two-week subscription, during which time you can pre-subscribe for a detailed description transferred from the market. You had to make a transfer on Valentine’s Day: each NFT had to cost 1,850 euros. If all NFTs were sold, Belvedere would earn 18.5 million euros. Not bad for a museum that doesn’t have a very large budget like most public museums.

One more point needs to be clarified: when you buy NFT, you get only one in ten thousand Kiss, or rather a digital copy of the picture. Thus, you will not be a shareholder of the original work of art owned and owned by the Federal Museum of Belvedere, and thus collectively owned by 8 million good citizens of the Republic of Austria. In other words, it is the best thing you buy in securities trading compared to derivatives.

Photo: ALAMY LIMITED / Agencja BE&W

Gustav Klimt’s “kiss”

Why is it better to buy NFT than an art print that shows “Kiss” in its entirety and costs only 9.90 euros? Asked by Standard, Bergmann said: “Each cut becomes a new theme and at the same time remains part of the overall composition.” In addition, he said, “NFT can express a special declaration of love.” After this advertisement, he moved on to the essence of the issue, ie to a special target group:

A reason that unites many collectors. This is Walter Benjamin. A philosopher once complained that a “work of art in the age of technical reproduction” (also the name of his famous essay) had lost its aura. Prior to the invention of photography, it was associated with the uniqueness of the artistic object.

Artists and art historians have since come up with many ideas to prove that not only Benjamin, but many collectors and the market are wrong! They are still very much dependent on the value of a copy. The maintenance, growth or depreciation of NFTs will, as always, depend on time, supply and demand. It is up to each individual to decide whether they are works of art or not.

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