The Museum of Modern Art Announces $70M Auction to Expand It’s Digital Reach

On Wednesday, The Museum of Modern Art announced plans to auction off nearly $70 million of art at Sotheby’s this fall to expand the museum’s digital footprint.

The auction is said to include 29 works from icons like Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Auguste Rodin, and more, which were initially part of CBS founder William Paley’s collection before being lent to the museum by Paley’s foundation after he died in 1990.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, The museum initially adopted a wait-and-see approach to NFTs. “We have a team of people monitoring the digital-art landscape to look for potential artists to collaborate on more significant artistic projects or purchases.” He went on to say, “We’re conscious of the fact that we lend an imprimatur when we acquire pieces,” explaining why MoMA didn’t buy NFTs at the outset, “but that doesn’t mean we should avoid the domain.”

All of these pieces were considered “off limits” to the art marketplace until now, said Brooke Lampley, Sotheby’s chairman and worldwide head of sales for fine art. Ms. Lampley noted the auction house competed with other houses to win the consignment and has guaranteed the foundation will reap an undisclosed sum for selling the works. But marketing Mr. Paley’s pieces should be a breeze, given their pedigree, “He’s the holy grail of provenance,” Ms. Lampley said.

Did you think Museums would dive into the digital art space this fast? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below. 👇🏽

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