27 January 2022
Members of the family of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso are selling more than 1,000 digital art pieces of one of his sculptures.
The work has never been seen publicly.
Picasso's granddaughter, Marina Picasso, and her son Florian Picasso showed media some of the art piece in their home in Geneva, Switzerland. They say the digital pieces are a mix of old fine art and digital work.
The Picassos want to make money from the recent interest in NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. NFTs are a kind of digital art that gained popularity in 2021.
Sales of NFTs have made millions of dollars. But they have been criticized as damaging to the environment and as schemes to make money.
But a Picasso artwork would mark a change for NFTs, his family said.
NFTs are based on a technology called blockchain, which is also used with digital currencies known as cryptocurrencies. An NFT can be attached to a piece of digital art or other things existing in digital form. The NFT is meant to provide proof that the digital objects are real. While anyone can see the work, the buyer has the official ownership rights.
"We're trying to build a bridge between the NFT world and the fine art world," said Florian Picasso, the artist's great-grandson.
The artist's family is keeping images of the piece mostly private. They are only showing a small part of the work. It is a ceramic piece the size of a large bowl. The parts that have been shown have a thick yellow line and areas of green. There is also the number 58 at the base.
Marina Picasso says the piece is from October 1958, when she was a child.
"It's joyful, happy," she said. It represents life...It's one of those objects that have been part of our life, our intimate lives — my life with my children."
Sotheby's is an international company known for selling artworks. It is having an auction in March for the Picasso work which will include an NFT and the ceramic bowl. An online sale of more than 1,000 other NFTs starts Friday through the Nifty Gateway and Origin Protocol websites. Some of the money from the sales will be donated.
Florian Picasso said the family agreed on the colorful ceramic piece because it was "a fun one" to start. The family and its business managers say the aim is to create a younger community of Picasso fans.
Florian Picasso said the NFT honors the artist.
"I think it fits within Picasso's legacies because we are paying tribute to him and his way of working, which was always being creative," he said.
The NFTs will also come with music mixed by Florian Picasso. He plays music for gatherings as a DJ and is a music producer. He worked with American singer John Legend and rapper Nas. The full song has not been publicly released. Florian played a small part for a reporter then turned it off.
"And to hear more," he said, "You gotta purchase the NFT."
I'm Dan Novak.
Dan Novak adapted this for VOA Learning English from reporting by The Associated Press.
Words in This Story
sculpture — n. a piece of art that is made by carving or molding clay, stone or metal
scheme — n. a smart, often dishonest plan to do or get something
ceramic — adj. something made of clay that is heated to make it hard
intimate — adj. very personal or private
auction — n. a public sale of an object in which the person offering to pay the most gets the object
legacy — n. property or money that is received from someone who has died
tribute — n. something done to show respect of love for someone