Sotheby’s Celebrates 300 Years With Art Blocks

Credit: Sothebys

For the first time in its 300-year history, the legendary auction house Sotheby’s is holding a “Dutch Auction” to celebrate a new NFT collection from the the pioneering artist Vera Molnár.

Titled ‘Themes and Variations,’ the sale will kick off the launch of Sotheby’s Generative Art Program, which is powered by Art Blocks’ Art Blocks Engine — a platform for brands that want to expand their ability to mint generative art projects.

The collection features 500 unique artworks depicting Molnár’s algorithmic style, which she has been experimenting with since the 1960’s. Molnár, a world-famous media artist, was an early pioneer of generative and computer art and is credited with being one of the first women to use computers in her art.

For Themes and Variations, Molnár worked with creative coder and generative artist Martin Grasser to create a generative protocol that explores the power of the grid and the randomness of color. She incorporated letters into the algorithm, specifically the letters N, F, and T.

The sale of Themes and Variations will take place onchain via Sotheby’s Metaverse July 26th, and payments must be made in ETH. The first twenty five purchasers of an NFT will receive a Themes and Variations book signed by the artist.

Not only does the NFT drop signal the launch of Art Blocks’ Gen Art Program, which will showcase two or three generative NFT artists each year, it is also the first time Sotheby’s has ever used a Dutch Auction. This less common auction format starts with an initial fixed price that gradually decreases until someone places a bid. The initial price for a Themes and Variations NFT is set at 20 ETH.

Sotheby’s Head of Digital Art & NFTs, Michael Bouhanna, said that the collaboration with Art Blocks was a “milestone moment” for the auction house and for Molnár, who is “one of the undisputed legends of generative art.” Molnár added that she chose the title Themes and Variations for her “first and only long-form generative art project” because “variations and letters resonate in me like music.”

Although Molnár has been working with generative art for decades, her first foray into the world of NFTs came in 2022 when she collaborated with Sotheby’s to launch her “2% of disorder in co-operation generative protocol.”

Sotheby’s Continues to Be Bullish on Web

In 2021, Sotheby’s sold its first NFT from the digital artist Pak for $17 million. The same year, it collaborated with Art Blocks to launch ’Natively Digital,’ the company’s first curated NFT auction. Since then, the British-born auction house hasn’t looked back.

At Rarity Sniper, we’ve had the chance to follow Sotheby’s progress in Web3, and it’s been impressive to say the least. Over the past year, the company has launched several Web3 initiatives that have made headlines around the world.

Below is a timeline that lists some of the biggest moves Sotheby’s has made in Web3 recently:

Sotheby’s latest NFT auction from the pioneering artist Vera Molnár is more evidence that it has no plans of slowing down its investments in Web3. We’ll keep an eye out to see how the launch of Themes and Variations goes in July. But considering the stellar reputations of both Sotheby’s and Molnár, we think there’s a high chance for success.