Important paintings from the Barney A. Ebsworth Collection totalled $317,801,250, at Christie’s, last night with record prices achieved for the American artist Edward Hopper in the first high-net value Blockchain sale. A lively start to the two-day dedicated sale included Hopper’s iconic Chop Suey, 1929, the most important work by the artist still in private hands, which achieved $91,875,000, a record for the artist and the category of American Art. Willem de Kooning’s Woman as Landscape also set an artist record at $68,937,500, and Jackson Pollock’s Composition with Red Strokes sold for $55,437,500. Additional auction records were achieved for the following artists: Arshile Gorky, John Marin, Joseph Stella, Gaston Lachaise, Tom Otterness, Leon Polk Smith, Suzy Frelinghuysen, George Tooker, David Smith, Francis Criss, Charles Green Shaw, and Patrick Henry Bruce.
The Ebsworth Collection marks the first time an art auction at this price level has been recorded on a blockchain
Part One of Christie’s sale of American Art saw the entrepreneur’s exceptional collection of 20th Century American art achieve a sell-through rate of 88% sold by lot, and 99% sold by value.
A Day sale of 48 additional works from the Collection will be presented today, November 14 at Christie’s Rockefeller Center salerooms and online.
After the sale, the Ebsworth family remarked: “We are delighted with the results tonight at Christie’s which paid tribute to my father’s eye and focus on quality. The works that gave him so much pleasure will now do the same for their new owners.”
Marc Porter, Chairman, Christie’s Americas, commented: “Since the launch of this collection at Christie’s Paris in September, we have introduced collectors to the singular brilliance of Barney A. Ebsworth’s collecting vision, which sprung from his early fascination with Gertrude Stein’s Paris and evolved to encompass all strands of American Art – from Abstract Expressionism, to Precisionism, to Magical Realism, to Park Avenue Cubism. He set a new high standard for quality among collections of 20th Century Art, and tonight we saw the marketplace respond with vigour to the artists and artworks that were dear to him, most notably Edward Hopper, and Willem de Kooning.”
The late Mr. Ebsworth was a renowned collector and entrepreneur who was named one of the ‘World’s 200 Greatest Collectors’. He founded cruise lines, the Intrav luxury travel business, and was an angel investor in the stuffed-animal phenomenon Build-A-Bear Workshop. Mr. Ebsworth had a passion for art which originated during his station with the US Army in France in 1956 when he made weekly trips to the Louvre. When he became a collector in his own right, his credo was “quality, quality, quality,” and with that mindset, he amassed the most comprehensive collection of American Modernism in private hands. He housed his collection at home in Seattle, in a custom-built house he designed in collaboration with architect Jim Olson and named “An American Place” in tribute to the former Alfred Stieglitz gallery of the same name.
In an auction world first, the sale of the Ebsworth Collection marks the first time an art auction at this price level has been recorded on a blockchain. Christie’s and Artory, a leading art-centric technology provider, partnered to create a secure digital registry for the sale of the Ebsworth Collection, in the spirit of the innovation and entrepreneurship that guided Mr Ebsworth career. The introduction of this technology for this sale continues Christie’s legacy of leading the industry by introducing technology innovations in the context of significant collections, for the ultimate benefit of our clients.
What is Blockchain?
The Barney A. Ebsworth Collection’ sold on the innovative Christie’s platform will be stored on a distributed ledger and the highest bidder will be provided with a secure, encrypted certification of the transaction. due to the immutability property of blockchain technology, the relevant information about the sold artwork will be permanently available to the owner. Artory the company providing the technology will also create a digital certificate of each transaction for Christie’s, and the latter will provide clients with a registration card to securely access an encrypted record of information about their purchased artwork on the Artory Registry.