Last Friday, a portrait produced by artificial intelligence was hanging in Christie in New York, in front of an engraving by Andy Warhol and next to a bronze work by Roy Lichtenstein. On Thursday, it was sold for more than twice the price of both pieces combined.
"Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy" sold for $ 432,500, including tariffs, more than 40 times Christie's initial estimate of $ 7,000 to $ 10,000. The buyer was an anonymous bidder.
The tender this morning lasted just under seven minutes, during which the buyer competed against an online bidder in France, two other telephone bidders and one person in the New York room. When the hammer fell, the bids had reached $ 350,000, the final price before the rates.
The distorted portrait, made by the French art collective Obvious, was marketed by Christie & # 39; s as the first portrait generated by an algorithm to auction.
"It's an exciting time," Obvious said in a statement. "Our hope is that the focus in this sale will bring forward the incredible work that our predecessors and colleagues have been producing."
The auction was inspired by a sale earlier this year, in which the French collector Nicolas Laugero Lasserre bought a portrait directly from the collective for about 10,000 euros, or about $ 11,400.
The Andy Warhol print that hung from the portrait last week sold for $ 75,000; The work of Roy Lichtenstein was sold for $ 87,500. Both prices include fees. Those two pieces were part of the same sale as "Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy". (The sale included 363 lots).
Auctioning the work seemed to be a test of Christie's interest in the traditional art market in AI art. But the strongest response after the announcement of the auction came from other artists who work with AI, many of whom have said the portrait is not original. Generative adversary networks, or GAN, the technology used to create the portrait, have been used in art since 2015, including artists Mario Klingemann, Anna Ridler and Robbie Barrat. Obvious began to gain attention earlier this year.
Much discussion in recent days has focused on Mr. Barrat, an artist who said that code that I had written and shared online it was used in the production of "Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy". Obvious told the technology website The Verge on Tuesday that he used the Barrat code, but modified it.
"We would like to thank the AI community, especially those who have been pioneers in the use of this new technology, including Ian Goodfellow, the creator of the GAN algorithm," Obvious said in his statement today. "And the artist Robbie Barrat, who has been a great influence for us."