In a remarkable event, a collection of NFT art by Vera Molnár achieved a full sale in less than an hour during a Sotheby’s auction. The “Themes and Variations” comprises 500 pieces of generative art NFTs. Aided by Martin Grasser, a creative coder and fellow generative artist, 99-year-old digital art pioneer Molnár realized a staggering total sales volume of 631 Eth, equivalent to $1.2 million.
Uniquely, Sotheby’s employed a Dutch Auction format for this sale, a first in the esteemed institution’s three-century history. In a Dutch Auction, bidding opens at a high price point and gradually lowers until a purchase is made. Following the sale, interest in Molnár’s work surged, as evidenced by the secondary market trading volume reaching an impressive 457 ETH the subsequent Thursday morning.
The Artistry Behind “Themes and Variations”
Originating from Hungary, Vera Molnár initiated her journey into computer-assisted drawings towards the latter part of the 1960s. Ever since, her intrigue towards the interplay of geometry, structure, and organized chaos through the medium of the ‘Machine Imaginaire’ has been a significant focus of her artistic exploration.
The series “Themes and Variations” is a testament to Molnár’s innovative and inventive approach to art. The 500 artworks were the product of an intensive collaboration between Molnár and Grasser. Each piece is an exploration beyond Molnár’s typical geometric forms, such as squares and triangles. In this series, she instead focused on the letters “N”, “F”, and “T”.
Like the pieces in “Themes and Variations,” generative art is created using a specific method. A code dictates numerous shapes, colours, pixel sizes, and other graphical properties. When executing this code, it randomly selects different elements with diverse characteristics, generating a visually surprising output with each run.
The Impact of Molnár and Sotheby’s on the NFT Art Scene
The collaboration between Molnár, Sotheby’s, and the Art Blocks Engine has not only culminated in a successful auction but also underscored Molnár’s long-standing practice with the ‘Machine Imaginaire.’ Having begun working with early computers in 1968, her influence among today’s digital artists is significant and far-reaching.
Sotheby’s has also played a pivotal role in the proliferation of NFT art. Since 2021, it has become a leading destination for selling and collecting top-tier digital artworks. With events like the Molnár auction, it continues to shape and steer the trajectory of the NFT space, supporting digital artists and satisfying the appetites of global collectors.
The rapid sale of Vera Molnár’s generative art NFT collection at Sotheby’s reflects the increasing demand and appreciation for digital art and Molnár’s significant influence in the space. This auction, a first of its kind in terms of format, not only netted a substantial sales volume but also boosted the secondary market interest in Molnár’s work. The success of “Themes and Variations” underlines the merging paths of traditional institutions like Sotheby’s and the burgeoning world of NFT art and showcases the timeless innovation of artists like Molnár in the digital era.