NFTs are one of the trendiest pieces of art in today’s world, but they are not new, or at least the concept of selling an intangible piece of art dates back to 1960, with a series of works by artist Yves Klein, one of the key figures of the Nouveau Réalisme (New Realism) movement and of whom a piece has just been sold for a million dollars.
A receipt, claiming the ownership of Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility by Yves Klein, is one of the few that exists to this day and, six decades later after its release, it was put into an auction which reach a price of a million dollars.
Many consider this work by Klein to be one of the most outrageous artistic statements in his career, mainly because it consisted of selling a series of receipts for “invisible zones” and for which he only accepted payments in gold bullions.
After the purchase, Klein gave each owner a receipt no less than eight inches wide and designed to look like a banker’s check. Later, the artists encouraged owners to participate in a ritual that consisted of dumping half the payment into the Seine river in Paris while burning the receipt in the presence of witnesses.
However, Jacques Kugel an antique dealer and the original owner of the receipt kept it. Years later, he is believed to be one of the very few who didn’t burn the evidence of purchase.
The receipt, which was auctioned by Sotheby’s was estimated to be sold in a range of $300,000 to $550,000. In its auction catalog, the house said that this piece could be considered an ancestor of the NFT.
“Some have likened the transfer of a zone of sensitivity and the invention of receipts as an ancestor of the NFT, which itself allows the exchange of immaterial works. If we add that Klein kept a register of the successive owners of the ‘zones,’ it is easy to find here another revolutionary concept—the ‘blockchain.’”
As a way to homage the connection to today’s tech trends, Sotheby’s announced it would accept, for the first time, cryptocurrencies as payments for the artwork
According to the auction house, the anonymous buyer who is to pay 1.2 million dollars is a “private European collector” and is still unknown if they will pay with crypto.