NFT: Why a Klimt cut into ten thousand pieces

Wwhen you type the five letters “Klimt” in the search mask on the Belvedere museum’s catalog, you can endlessly scrolling through the results. There are books and catalogs on the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt and of course postcards of his paintings. The most beautiful Art Nouveau designs available as posters prints, with or without thanks signed Mat.

In the shop you will find small and large vases with Klimt motifs Klimt images to origami folding and a box of Klimt magnets. And you remember seeing Klimt umbrellas, Klimt coffee mug, Klimt silk scarves, Klimt-shoulder bags and Klimt-embroidered sofa cushions in the shops of the major museums. So why not Klimt as a digital NFT copy?

Klimt is a brand. Because Gustav Klimt’s painting style is unmistakable, highly decorative, globally understandable, internationally popular and astronomically expensive (when the originals come to market). One of the painter’s most famous works, “The Kiss” from 1908/09, belonging to the Vienna Museum of Belvedere Palace. Of course, the museum is not allowed to sell it. And now it is. In thousands of snippets!

Belvedere has dropped thousands of NFT

Belvedere has dropped thousands of NFT

Source: Ouriel Morgensztern / Belvedere, Vienna

The CEO of Belvedere, Wolfgang Bergmann, “embossed” 10,000 digital sections of a high resolution image of the painting as so-called Non-fungible Tokens (NFT). As a reminder: NFT – the latest year’s art market hype – are digital certificates of authenticity for files. Tucked in a block chain can potentially infinitely reproducible data associated with a single owner (supposedly even unalterable and tamper resistant). Digital images, sounds, documents and virtual artifacts has thus become tradable as unique items.

There is now a large market for NFT, and not just in the art trade. But especially in the art trade, these certificates given digital art, which until now has hardly been commercially viable, an incredible boost. New collectors, IT savvy investors and risk-averse speculators sometimes spend millions of dollars. Converted to cryptocurrencies, which has proven to be the ultimate motto of this game.

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And also for museums NFT a new source of income with which they can turn their completely unsaleable possessions for cash. Or at least try. The Uffizi Gallery in Florence, for example, the Michelangelo on offer. And Belvedere samples Klimt: files containing thousands of details about “the kiss” has been converted or “off” to virtual assets. “Dropped”, as it says in crypto-speak, that is finally put on the market, NFT kysene for Valentine’s Day.

The sale ends on February 14 via specially created platform thekiss.art (where you can still have the NFT provided with an “individual love commitment”). The subscription period has been running for two weeks, where you could enroll in a detailed picture beforehand copied from the exchange. The bank transfer is also due to Valentine’s Day: Each NFT will probably cost 1,850 euros. If all NFT was sold, would Belvedere taking in 18.5 million. Not bad for a museum which, like most public institutions can not be expected to be lavishly budgeted.

Something else must be explained: As a buyer of NFT you only get ownership to one ten-thousandth of “the kiss”, essentially a digital copy of the painting. You do not become a shareholder in the original work of art, which remains in the possession and property of the Federal Museum Belvedere and thus, so to speak, jointly belongs to the eight million citizens of the Republic of Austria. You buy that is something that is most comparable to a derivative in securities trading.

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Why should buy a NFT and not an art print, after all, fully shows “Kiss” and only 9.90 euro cost? Bergmann has answered the question of “Standard” newspaper as follows: “The special feature of this edition is that each cut to a new scene is and remains a part of the whole composition” It added that “you speak with NFT a declaration of love by a special kind of “After this advertising message it comes to the point, the specific target audience. “Ask any collector, collectors, why he has been since there are 1,001 reasons”

One reason unites many collectors – and it is Walter Benjamin. The philosopher once complained that the “work of art in the age of its technical reproducibility” (also the title of his famous essay) had lost its aura. Until the invention of photography, this aura attached to the uniqueness of the artistic purpose.

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Artists and art historians have since come up with lots of ideas to prove Benjamin wrong, but many collectors – and the market! – depends a lot on the value of the individual piece. Whether NFT will hold, add or lose value will, as usual, be governed by time, supply and demand. Everyone has to decide for themselves whether they are works of art.

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