What the Art World Is Failing to Grasp about Christie’s AI Portrait Coup
On Thursday, in the same auction in which an Andy Warhol print sold for $75,000 and a work by Roy Lichtenstein sold for $87,500, a computer-generated artwork grabbed $350,000 ($432,500 after buyer’s premium). The work, titled Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy (2018), was initially estimated by Christie’s for just $7,000 to $10,000.
The portrait was produced using artificial intelligence by Obvious, a Paris-based collective. Thursday’s price is, of course, out of proportion to any AI artwork ever sold; in the past, figures have typically been in the $10,000 to $20,000 range. The six-figure price is even more surprising, given that no AI artworks have been exhibited by any top galleries in New York or London before.