Last week Christie’s announced that the Barney A. Ebsworth Collection, a collection of 20th Century American Art, was sold for a total of $323 million. All sales were logged on the Artory blockchain which launched its registry last week. The aim is to track the provenance of artwork and make future re-sales more efficient. Owners can register their artwork, so they’re able to demonstrate ownership while their identity remains private.
Barney Ebsworth, founder of the Clipper Cruise Line and a venture capitalist, passed away earlier this year.
“The introduction of blockchain into such a significant sale has opened a new collecting audience to the benefits of blockchain technology in the art space, and sets the stage for more developments in the future,” commented Richard Entrup, CIO at Christie’s. “The Ebsworth Collection has been the ideal pilot for exploring this exciting innovation, given the rich history and provenance of the artworks in the collection and the exceptional prices achieved for major blue-chip artists, including Edward Hopper and Willem de Kooning. Christie’s is pleased to have introduced this exciting technology to our clients as a first step towards broader adoption of blockchain innovations for the art market.”
The blockchain registration records the artwork title, description, final price, and date, and creates a digital certificate of the transaction. No personal information about the buyer is recorded. However, Christie’s offers the purchaser a registration card that enables access to the secure record.
Nanne Dekking, Founder & CEO of Artory and Chairman of The European Fine Art Fair said: “For first-time buyers and experienced collectors alike, Artory provides the reassurance that they are dealing with a vetted seller, there will be an immutable record of the transaction, and that they will receive a certificate of sale from an independent third party—all of which encourages them to buy and sell with confidence.”