Pablo Picasso's admirers will soon be able to own one of his paintings for less than $6,000. Digital asset bank Sygnum and investment pioneer Artemundi have partnered to tokenize Picasso's Fillette au béret (1964) painting.
The original, though, will remain locked in Switzerland.
"This marks the first time the ownership rights in a Picasso, or any artwork, are being broadcast onto the public blockchain by a regulated bank, enabling investors to purchase and trade "shares" in the artwork called Art Security Tokens (ASTs)," Sygnum claimed in a press release.
Pablo Picasso painted Fillette au béret in 1964, and it is now priced at 4 million Swiss francs (around $4,4M). Investors can own a share of Fillette au béret, priced at CHF four million. Tokens can be subscribed directly through Sygnum's e-banking platform, with a minimum subscription of 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,500).
According to Reuters, the 1964 work depicting a beret-capped child in bright colors on canvas was last sold for 21.4 million Swedish krona ($2.48 million) by auction house Uppsala Auktionskammare in 2016.
Tokenization, according to Sygnum, holds the potential to increase transparency and democratize the annual USD 60 billion art market.
"Tokenization, which creates digital representations of financial and real assets on the blockchain, enables fractional ownership, lowering financial barriers and democratizing access to pieces of art history like Picasso's Fillette au béret," the company said in a press release.
Reuters noted that it is not the first painting by the notoriously iconoclastic Picasso to rub shoulders with the blockchain.
Driven by a surge this year in the market for non-fungible tokens (NFTs), often focused on digital-only artworks and other virtual items, Sotheby's flagged an NFT-linked sale of Picasso's "Le peintre et son modèle" in June.
The painting sold for 2.25 million pounds ($3.12 million), though plans for the joint sale of an NFT - a one-of-a-kind token that exists on a blockchain - that would link ownership to a digital version were scrapped, the auction house said.
Also, in June, the NFT art market Unique.One opened an auction for an NFT tied to a Picasso print, Fumeur V (1964), which in April had sold at Christie's for 15,000 pounds. The print - one of 50 of the same works - was first displayed at a gallery in Denver before being burned to create the NFT "The Burned Picasso."
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