Andy Warhol Artwork to be Sold in Blockchain Auction
By Sam Stevenson
Art blockchain platform Maecenas today announced that Andy Warhol’s 14 Small Electric Chairs (1980) will be the first on its platform to be tokenised.
Cryptocurrency and art enthusiasts will be able to own fractional shares in the artwork by bidding at an auction on 20 June.
The auction—which will be the world’s first cryptocurrency art sale—will be held in collaboration with Dadiani Syndicate, the first fine art gallery in the UK to accept cryptocurrency payments for collectables.
During the auction, Dadiani and Maecenas will make up to 49 percent of the painting, which will be listed on Maecenas’ blockchain platform, available for ownership.
Buyers will be able to purchase digital certificates on the blockchain representing fractional ownership in the work, which is currently valued at £4.2m ($5.6m).
Currencies used will include Bitcoin, Ethereum and the ART token.
A smart contract run on Ethereum—acclaimed as the fairest and most transparent pricing mechanism to date on the blockchain—will determine the piece’s final price.
It is the first time that an artwork from an internationally renowned artist will be sold using blockchain technology.
Maecenas’ CEO Marcelo García Casil said: ‘We’re making history. We are proud to be pioneers in this space—this is the result of many years hard work. This Warhol is the first of many more to come.
‘We’re starting this exciting journey alongside our strategic partner Dadiani, who not only fully supports our vision but also plays a key long-term role in helping us transform the art market.’
Dadiani Syndicate founder Eleesa Dadiani added: ‘For the first time ever, high-value, blue-chip artworks will be available for everybody to own using the unique technology platform developed by Maecenas.
‘You can now own a piece of history! This is not a divisive strategy but a win-win for all.
‘Beyond this, Maecenas and Dadiani are launching the world's largest and first tokenised art fund through the blockchain. This will simplify and expand art investment even further.
‘Our shared vision is being implemented in the most exciting way—now we both look forward to embracing the resulting evolution of art investment.’
The reserve price of 14 Small Electric Chairs is to be set at £3m. All buyers will be subject to full ‘know your customer’ (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) checks that will assure that the purchases are compliant with financial regulations.
Along with Warhol’s Campbell’s Tomato Soup Can, Green Coca-Cola, Dollar Bill and Marilyn Monroe, the Electric Chair is one of Warhol’s most iconic series.
14 Small Electric Chairs is part of Warhol’s 1980 Reversal series—a postmodern reworking of his iconic 1960s Death and Disaster Series.
The dimensions for 14 Small Electric Chairs are 202.5 x 81.8 cm. It has been exhibited in Zurich, Vienna, Hamburg and Seoul.
A certificate of authenticity accompanies the work from the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board in New York. The piece also features a finger swipe that Warhol’s own hand supposedly made.