Christie’s partners with Benjamin Steinitz, the internationally renowned dealer of 18th and 19th-century furniture and sculpture, and announces a first for Classic Art: all 58 lots offered in the live auction Provenance Revealed: Galerie Steinitz on 21 September in London will be registered and secured on the Blockchain through Artory, a world leader in art tech and the blockchain-secured registration of physical artworks and collectibles.
Provenance Revealed: Galerie Steinitz presents a remarkable opportunity for collectors to acquire a wide variety of objects celebrating exceptional provenances – from the collections of 18th-century French royalty and aristocracy to the treasures of 19th-century industrial and financial titans, to pieces that were part of the private worlds of 20th-century fashion designers, including Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy, and Karl Lagerfeld.
Estimated to realize in the region of £3.5 million, works from these historic collections will be on public view at Christie’s headquarters in London from 12 to 20 September.
Each of the lots will include secure, encrypted certification of the sale for the successful bidder, providing a permanent digital record of the information about the artwork.
This pioneering initiative advances the trade of decorative arts to a sophisticated new realm. Synergizing Steinitz’s passion for uncovering and recording the provenances of works of art with the technology of blockchain, the project recognizes the importance of sharing the history of a work of art as a way to celebrate its story – a legacy that Benjamin inherited and continues from his parents.
This initiative also epitomizes Christie’s involvement in Web3, and it is a new step in its collaboration with Artory after Christie’s became the first auction house to utilize blockchain technology to document the provenance and artwork data from the sale of the Barney A. Ebsworth Collection of 20th Century American Art in 2018.
Benjamin Steinitz commented: “After the initial visual and emotional impact of discovering a work of art, revealing its history through its successive ownerships is just as important, and a fundamental part of the work of art itself. We are very proud to see examples of our recent discoveries exhibited in some of the most prestigious museums, including the Louvre, Paris, and the Museum of Legion of Honor, San Francisco.
Together with Christie’s, our shared expertise and ‘savoir-faire’ has enabled us to present a superb selection of rare and important works of art, where their discovered provenance makes for fascinating reading and learning.
We are very pleased to add this valuable data to the ‘Blockchain’ – a first in the history of Decorative Arts – through Christie’s collaboration with Artory; to create an everlasting link between the work of art, its authenticity, and its provenance. I hope people will enjoy discovering these works and their extraordinary history as much as I have.”
Guillaume Cerutti, Christie’s CEO, commented: “We are delighted to embark with Benjamin Steinitz, an antique dealer we respect and admire, on this innovative auction journey, celebrating our shared passion for the Decorative Arts as well as securing tantalizing early provenances, including some recent discoveries, on the blockchain.”
Nanne Dekking, CEO of Artory, commented: “Artory is proud to continue our collaboration with Christie’s – a first for Classic Art. As long-standing participants and business leaders within the global art market, Artory was created to meet the needs of today’s art collectors and satisfy the broader desire within the industry to embrace new technologies that will enable the marketplace to grow and evolve.
This marks the start of a blockchain digital journey for each work in this auction, and it will show the art world how digital encryption technology can benefit buyers and collectors in the future. Undisputable reliability of the data recorded about any piece of artwork and the expertise of the specialists recording that information is the pre-requisite for transacting in the art market and represents the core of our mission.”