First Major AI Painting Sells For 43 Times Estimate


The sale signals "the arrival of AI art on the world auction stage", Christie's said.

This photo provided by Christie's shows a portrait of Edmond de Belamy, a work of art created by artificial intelligence.

A portrait created using an AI program has fetched $435,000 in auction at Christie's, blowing the expected price of $7,000 to $10,000 out of the water. Sign-up now and enjoy one (1) week free access!

The French collective selected 11, calling them the "Belamy family", one of which on Thursday fetched US$432,500 at Christie's in NY, the epicenter of the traditional art market.

They are engaged in exploring the interface between art and artificial intelligence, and their method goes by the acronym GAN, which stands for "generative adversarial network". It understood rules of portraiture using a new algorithm developed by a Google researcher and created new images by itself.

Selling an AI-generated work at auction seems like mostly a cheap gimmick to make art sales relevant and interesting to the vast majority who have no need or ability to attend one.

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The artwork, called "Portrait of Edmond Belamy", was made by a machine learning algorithm.

The creation of Edmond came as a result of using an algorithm "defined by an algebraic formula" and then transferring the images of some 15,000 classic portraits through a computer software.

"We found that portraits provided the best way to illustrate our point", said Caselles- Dupré, "which is that algorithms are able to emulate creativity". Caselles-Dupré said the two parts are the Generator and the Discriminator.

It's not the first time AI has been used to create art.

"The goal is to force the discriminator to think that the new images are true portraits. Although it is too early to speculate what changes we expect", - said the curator of the auction, Richard Lloyd. The signature in the portrait painting is actually a mathematical algorithm suggesting that the painting is not by a human.

The artwork was produced as an experiment "in the interface between art and artificial intelligence", Christie's said on its website.