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Through Art Market & You, Art From Us provides you Analysis, Opinion and Factual Reports regarding the current on-goings of the Global Art Market. In this article, we explore AI in art

Success at the Christie’s Sale

The final day of the Christie’s Prints and Multiples sale 2018 has made history. Why? Because of the portrait of the non-existent Edmond Belamy.

Paris-based collective Obvious’ artificial intelligence technology is the creator of the painting. That’s right, the work was not made by a human artist. Christie’s pre sale estimate for it was marked at $7,000 – $10,000. On October 25, 2018, the work far exceeded all expectations when it sold for an unbelievable $432,500 ($350,000 hammer price).

The AI artwork, was made by the General Adversarial Network (GAN) created by Obvious. According to Obvious, 15,000 images of portraits were fed into the system. And then it came up with Edmond de Belamy’s face. Since the work has no human artist, the work has been signed in Gallic script as :

Furthermore, the Christie’s auction catalogue listed the work’s medium as ‘Generative Adversarial Network print on canvas, 2018’. And skipped listing an artist altogether.

Is AI art the Future (or the Present)?

In an article, Christie’s reports further developments in the field :

“Elsewhere in the AI world, researchers are playing other art-historical games. Ahmed Elgammal, director of the Art and Artificial Intelligence Lab at Rutgers University in New Jersey, is working with a system that he calls CAN — a ‘creative’ rather a ‘generative’ network…CAN is specifically programmed to produce novelty, something different from what it sees in the data set, which in this case consists of all manner of paintings
from the 14th century on.”

Obvious’ work sold for 43 times its pre-sale estimate. It was also the second most expensive lot at the auction, preceded only by Warhol’s Myths (1981). In case artists, experts and market forecasters hadn’t already sat up and taken notice of the potential of artificial intelligence, this news will certainly send them into a tizzy.

Read more about Artificial Intelligence in art. To read more on facts and opinions, visit Art Market & You.

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