Explained: Why a receipt for an invisible artwork could fetch half-a-million dollars at auction

by AryanArtnews
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A receipt for invisible artwork by the French artist Yves Klein, published in 1959, anywhere between € 300,000 and € 500,000 when placed under a hammer at Sotheby’s on April 6th. Is expected to get.

A key figure in post-war European art, Klein was a member of the Nouveau Realisté movement, which began in France in the 1950s. Known for his radical methods and conceptual art, the artist died of a heart attack in 1962 at the age of 34.

When and why did Klein issue a receipt?

One of the pioneers of performance art, Klein held an exhibition called “The Void” at Gallery Iris Krat in Paris in 1958, placing a large cabinet in an empty room. Collectors were given the opportunity to purchase works from a non-existent concept series in exchange for pure gold. They could also choose to keep their receipts or burn them in rituals.

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For those who chose to burn them, Klein also dumped half of the money he paid for his work into the Seine. Klein described the fictional space as a “zone of unimportant pictorial sensibility.”

The 8.5×19.5 cm receipt sold by Sotheby’s was originally issued to antiquarian dealer Jack Kugel on December 7, 1959. Currently owned by art advisor and former gallery owner Loic Malle, he has auctioned over 100 items from his private collection.

In his work notes, Sotheby’s compares auction receipts to non-fungible tokens. (Photo: Sotheby’s)

Why are receipts important?

Reminiscent of the innovative work of art conceptualized by Klein, the American visual arts magazine ARTnews, according to historian Denys Riout, has four receipts left from sales made between 1959 and 1962. It states that there is only one. It was held at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid in 1995 and at the Center Pompidou in Paris in 2007.

In his work notes, Sotheby’s compares receipts to art non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which have been the focus of attention since last year. The memo says: Adding that Klein holds the registration of successive owners of the “zone” makes it easy to find another innovative concept here, blockchain. “

What is Klein famous for?

Klein, who came from a family of artists, had no formal training in the arts. He was a key member of the Nouveau réalism movement in Paris with an emphasis on finding “new ways of perceiving the real thing”.

In the 1950s, he worked primarily in gold, monopink, and blue monochrome. In 1960, he patented International Klein Blue (IKB). This is a dark blue shade that he created and used in a series of works, including performances from the late ’50s, with a shade of blue on the model. Press your body against a blank canvas.

His 1960 photo “Leapinto the Void” shows an artist reaching out and jumping out of a building. Exploring the spiritual realm, the photo combined two separate images.

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