Posts in Art Market

Art Afloat: All Hands On-Deck!

April 2nd, 2019 Posted by Art Education, Art Market, Art News, Education, Media Buzz 0 comments on “Art Afloat: All Hands On-Deck!”

This year Arius has the pleasure of joining a fascinating line up of speakers at ACREW Insights in Monaco, taking place on April 9th. The one-day event will focus on the management of rare and precious art onboard superyachts, and the implications of moving art across borders.

Art is, and will forever be, an integral part of personalizing a space. To the captains and crew of superyachts, it’ll be no surprise when owners of multi-million-dollar artworks want to bring them aboard to enjoy while relaxing at sea. Without a doubt, the art housed on superyachts is venerated, valuable and irreplaceable – but, it’s not typically something the crew will know how to look after.

Incidents regarding spiraling champagne corks heading towards a Picasso, or a bowl of cereal being thrown at a Basquiat, have made owners more aware of the implications of installing art onboard. Leading Art Historian and Conservator, Pandora Mather-Lees explains [1] "Now that the rich are increasingly bringing their art collections onboard their yachts, it's vital that captains and crew know how to care for these pieces."

Mather-Lees is leading this year’s ACREW Insights event, which will address themes including safety, conservation and the risk of prosecution when it comes to bringing a piece of art on board. In the lead up to event, we’ve taken a deeper dive into the biggest risks of installing art on superyachts and how we can prevent art from losing economic, cultural or aesthetic value.

Is Art on Superyachts a Conservation Nightmare?

An art collection onboard a superyacht is often worth more than the vessel itself – plus, it will most likely be financially and culturally appreciating. The question that comes mind… “is a yacht the best place to display artworks?”

Marine environments are quite harsh. Lighting, proper installation, and climate controls are all factors that owners must take into consideration when they want to bring their collection onboard. Just as on land, any piece of art needs to be protected from sunlight, humidity, and temperature fluctuations.

Insurers require the same conditions and requirements for displaying fine art in yachts, as they do for museums. Plus, we can’t simply hang a painting onboard; it must be installed properly so the artwork does not shift when sailing through six-meter waves.

While most superyachts have sophisticated climate control systems, when it comes to caring for artwork, at least a basic level of art conservation education is crucial for the crew to understand the specific environmental needs for fine art.




Photo by Fraser from the UK edititon of GQ Magazine

Better to be Safe Than Sorry, With Crew Training and Museum-Quality Reproductions.

In addition to making sure the general environment is safe for artwork, Pandora Mather-Lees recalls some incidents where clients have come to her with some cases that are quite peculiar. On one occasion, Mather-Lees was called for a restoration case when a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting was victim to a bowl of cornflakes.

She states in an interview with The Guardian[2]: “The owners’ kids had thrown their cornflakes at it over breakfast on his yacht because they thought it was scary.” The damage did not just end there, as the crew had made matters worse by wiping the grainy mess off the painting. The crew did not think much of the painting, Mather-Lees stating that the crew thought it was “just some painting,” they had no idea it was worth millions.

It is understandable that the crew did not know the painting was worth a substantial price tag as their training is primarily focused on the safety and operation of the vessel.

Realizing the need to help captains and crew care for art as well as they can care for the superyacht owner, Mather-Lees is offering courses that provide basic training and advice. In addition to this, Arius is offering owners the opportunity to prevent any harm by producing high-fidelity textured reproductions – which can be displayed anywhere in the world while the original is displayed in a gallery or safely stored.

Iris close up comparison 1

Side by side comparison of Van Gogh's "Iris" (left) and our Verus brand museum-quality reproduction of "Iris" (right) from the National Gallery of Canada collection

Crossing Borders and the Risk of Prosecution and Confiscation

While in theory, a superyacht could meet the stringent requirements to be a suitable place to store art, there is still the headache of art crossing borders. The risk of prosecution is an area that ACREW Insights will be addressing in detail; clarifying the context of new National Heritage laws and adopting best practices and processes for travel with art.

There is an eminent risk of art being seized by Customs if proper measures are not taken during transportation of the valuable artwork from one jurisdiction to another. However, the risk of prosecution or confiscation remains a very grey area since rules and regulations vary across the globe and even from port to port.

In 2015, French customs in Corsica seized Picasso’s Head of a Young Woman from Spanish billionaire, Jaime Botín’s yacht. Botín argued that the yacht was sailing under the British flag and was under UK’s jurisdiction, but this argument did not sway the court in Spain, which deemed the Picasso’s work as a national treasure of Spain.[3]


Members of the French and Spanish Police with the seized Picasso, Head of a Young Woman (1906). Courtesy Douane Fraçaise (Artnet News)

How Can Arius Help? 

While the incidents that we’ve highlighted might have been impossible to predict, hindsight is always 20-20. We believe our technology can help superyacht owners and Captains prevent disaster and eradicate the complications of insurance, conservation and travelling with art onboard.

Insurance Brokers even suggest that owners obtain reproductions of their valued artwork and store the original in a secure, climate-controlled facility. With our world-leading 3D scanning system we can safely digitize and reproduce paintings, ensuring the geometry and colour of every brushstroke is captured and printed.  

Arius’ textured prints take on the aura of the originals and can be displayed on any wall in the world, while the original remains safely tucked away from harm.

Arius3D Scanning System

Van Gogh's "Iris" undergoing scanning process in the Arius 3D Scanning System 


Photo credit for featured image to Alexander Mils on Pexels

[1] Business Insider: Billionaire yacht owners are desperately seeking advice to protect their priceless art from flying champagne corks and corn-flake stains,

[2] The Guardian: Mind my Picasso… superyacht owners struggle to protect art,

[3] The Art Newspaper

Arius bolsters the art market’s blockchain-based Artory Registry with 3D scan data.

March 20th, 2019 Posted by Art & Blockchain, Art Market, Art News 0 comments on “Arius bolsters the art market’s blockchain-based Artory Registry with 3D scan data.”

As featured on Hyperallergic, Arius and Artory have partnered to integrate high-fidelity 3D scan data within Artory’s blockchain based art registry; together, revolutionizing the art industry’s approach to provenance, authenticity, and condition reporting.

Last week Arius CEO, Paul Lindahl, took to the stage at the second edition of UNFOLD Art Xchange, as part of Bahrain’s annual ARTBAB fair. Joining a panel discussion about “The Blockchain Art Market Revolution: Improving Provenance and Transparency for the Art Market”, it was the perfect time to announce our partnership with Artory, who’s CEO, Nanne Dekking, was also on the panel.

UNFOLD Art Xchange Panel about "“The Blockchain Art Market Revolution", featuring Arius CEO, Paul Lindahl. Photo Credit: Bernadine Bröcker Wieder
UNFOLD Art Xchange Panel about "“The Blockchain Art Market Revolution", featuring Arius CEO, Paul Lindahl. Photo Credit: Bernadine Bröcker Wieder

As the art market continues to cast a spotlight on blockchain technology, a lot of questions have been raised about the quality of information being added to various registries, and how this market will help the art-world move towards a more transparent marketplace, without compromising the privacy of buyers, sellers and collectors in general.

Arius recognizes the opportunities for both new and traditional art organizations to leverage our rich data sets, and sees blockchain registry as an essential part of creating a ‘cultural seedbank’ that helps safeguard our heritage for generations to come.

Partnering with Artory felt like a natural step towards this goal, as their world-leading Artory Registry uses only vetted and verified sources to track provenance for art and collectibles, creating the industry’s first object-oriented database.

In a bid to secure the most reliable art market data, last November Artory collaborated with Christie’s auction house with an industry-first project to register the entire catalogue of artworks in the Barney A. Ebsworth Collection on their blockchain based Artory Registry.

Edward Hopper’s “Chop Suey”, breaking a record of over $91M USD. Photo Credit: Artory.
Edward Hopper’s “Chop Suey”, breaking a record of over $91M USD. Photo Credit: Artory.

In another world-first partnership, Artory is expanding its tight network of trusted data sources by utilizing data that Arius Technology has captured via high resolution 3D scans of paintings. Working directly with museums and private collections, our 3D scan data maps every surface detail of an art object, recording both the geometry and colour of each brushstroke. With details finer than 1/10th of a human hair, Arius scans can detect features that are invisible to the human eye, setting a new standard for condition reporting and future authentication efforts.

As Artory’s Nanne Dekking explains, “The Registry we are creating supports the art marketplace and helps them, along with banks, insurance companies, and other service providers, to communicate with millions of art lovers. The challenge is not with the technology, but rather with the kind of information you are actually securing with blockchain. The technique, as such, doesn’t make information more reliable. But rather, by working with data only from distinguished partners such as auction houses, galleries, living artists, and museums to create records with credible information, the Artory Registry reduces the risk of permanently recording poor quality information on the blockchain, while still bringing all the benefits that registering provides.”

Arius engineers process the 3D scan data of paintings, recording information for the geometry and colour of every brushstroke.
Arius engineers process the 3D scan data of paintings, recording information for the geometry and colour of every brushstroke.

With the opportunity to include 3D scan data about the physical condition of artworks, Arius is effectively providing a 3D fingerprint of the surface of a painting. Such data can be used for verification of the same piece in years to come, as well as being used to detect even the earliest signs of degradation. This helps collectors plan essential conservation projects, as well as aiding professionals to accurately value a piece throughout its lifetime, based on its condition.

“Including timestamps of our 3D scan data within the Artory Registry is an exciting opportunity for the marketplace to create centralized, trusted records about any painting. Over time, we hope to see blockchain technology, like the Artory Registry, underpin the development of a “cultural seedbank”, where records like our scan data can be protected for generations to come.” Arius CEO, Paul Lindahl

As the art market continues to show interest, and enthusiasm, towards blockchain technology, it’s an exciting time to be a part of a shift in art market practices thanks to technological disruption. Follow us on social media for the latest Arius news and updates in the art technology market!

Arius CEO Paul Lindahl on Deloitte Big Data Panel

Art Market Insights: Big Data & AI

November 7th, 2018 Posted by Art Market, Behind the Scenes 0 comments on “Art Market Insights: Big Data & AI”

Arius Talks Big Data & Artificial Intelligence at Deloitte’s 11th Art & Finance Conference

Earlier this month Arius CEO, Paul Lindahl, took to the stage at Deloitte’s 11th Art and Finance Conference, participating in a panel discussion about the role of Big Data and AI in the art world. As can be expected from a world-leading conference, Paul was amongst a stellar line up of panelists, including Henry Blundell, Master Art; Catherine D. Henry, Palpable Media; Zohar Elhanani, MututalArt; Oliver Zephir, Technoport SA; and Sophie Neuendorf, Artnet.

With a focus on how to improve analytics, financial decisions & experience in the art market, Paul and fellow panelists addressed some of the biggest challenges, and opportunities in this realm. Evidently, the landscape is changing at lightning speed and with the next Deloitte Art & Finance Report due to be published in 2019, we’re keenly anticipating its release.

Ahead of next year’s report, we thought we’d share our perspective on Big Data, what we’re most excited about, and where Arius has an important role to play.

What Exactly is Big Data and is it Already Here?

Research suggests the adoption of Big Data in the art world is still in its infancy, especially when we look at technical definitions of what “Big Data” means. In most basic terms, “Big Data” encompasses large volumes of data, collected at high velocity, in a variety of formats, often including unstructured and difficult-to-analyze data, like audio clips or social media posts.

Albeit early days compared to other industries, the art world is seeing some exciting Big Data players emerge. So far, developments are mostly in relation to recording transactions and predicting valuations, as well as making personalized recommendations for artwork based on user behaviour and trends.

What problems are the art world trying to solve exactly?

While these ideas sound like useful tools for more convenient art shopping, the core drivers for Big Data disruption run a little deeper than providing a seamless buying experience.

The Need for Transparency

Understandably, the power holders of the art market are typically those with hard-earned reputations, who can be trusted by the wealthiest of collectors, and have a great depth of knowledge, with insight and connections to private auction circles. With this comes an air of mystery and a great deal of secrecy.

With 53% of secondary market art sales being private [1], trust in transactions is being heavily placed on such reputations and word of mouth information within the art market. Therefore, art-world Big Data organizations are focusing on utilizing technology to improve transparency around transactions and value of a piece; i.e. what is being sold, when, for how much, and to whom?

Christie’s recently announced [2] that Artory’s blockchain registry will securely record all public information regarding the sale of each lot in the 2018 American Modernist Masterpieces auction. This data will include the title, description, final price, and date, producing a digital certificate of the transaction for Christie’s. Meanwhile, Codex has secured partnerships with around 5,000 auction houses that have joined their blockchain registry.

In an effort to develop standardized reports that strengthen provenance, which will inevitably help to determine current or future valuation, firms like Verisart, Fresco, Codex, and Artory are starting to gain traction with Blockchain based provenance technology.

However, there is a lot of internal skepticism as to whether improved transparency will have a positive impact [3]. While we may seek comfort in seeing similarly opaque markets, like real estate and wine collecting, being opened up with technology disruption, there is a stigma that data and technology necessitate and rationalize decision-making. Some fear this will remove the ‘element of surprise’ which is seen as essential for the art market, as this world thrives on its esoteric allure [4].

The flip side is that access to knowledge could empower more collectors than ever before and help grow the marketplace beyond the geographical constraints of few core art hubs in the world. We’re excited to see whether the attraction of a hungrier marketplace will help ease the transition towards transaction and valuation information becoming readily available.


Combating Art Fraud

Another challenge facing the art world is fraud, Interpol estimates that 6 billion dollars’ worth of fraudulent art is absorbed each year [5]. Understandably, with the risk of fraud being significant, collectors and financial lenders may continue to favour other investment assets, despite art earning a reputation for garnering unprecedented returns, in lucky circumstances.

While companies strive to improve transparency around art transactions, it’s proving difficult for Blockchain provenance companies to validate information or even tell if a transaction is actually based on the real object.

Naturally, Arius sees an opportunity here, to aid verified transaction information with securely captured art object data that accurately maps the colour and geometry of a painting. With the potential to digitally fingerprint paintings and assign unique art identifier numbers based on our scan data, which would be difficult to manipulate unlike photographs, we hope to help address one of the biggest challenges with digital provenance records and set new standards for condition reports.


Improving Condition Reports

Knowledge can also be harnessed from physical art object data, allowing not only prospective buyers but also current owners of art, to make the best possible long-term decisions about their collection. Arius’ rich data sets record a painting’s surface to reveal details that would otherwise be invisible to the human eye.

Working with conservators and restoration experts, collectors will be able to treat any early signs of degradation before the painting visibly changes, which is one of the biggest threats to the valuation of a piece, in addition to how gut-wrenching it would be to see your favourite Monet wither and fade before your eyes.

Another exciting prospect for the art market is the ability to not only detect degradation early but to predict signs of decay. As Arius collects data for more and more paintings, we’ll be helping to record the art equivalent of a ‘cultural seed bank’. Working with conservators and leading players in Big Data, we look to be able to predict the lifecycle of a painting’s surface, potentially calculating variable degradation rates of different artists’ works depending on where and how it’s kept.


Adjusting to a Generation Shift

Last but not least is a shift in generational values and expectations. While we’ve already seen pressure from millennials shake up other industries, it’s only now that we’re starting to see millennials emerge as power players in the art collection, financing and valuation markets.

Countless research highlights a millennial thirst for being able to access vast amounts of information, quickly and conveniently. We also expect the demands of millennial collectors to influence a shift towards the wider global distribution of art sales and auctions.

In addition to prices, this generation cares enormously about the value of an item and what that means in a broader context, including the impact on the environment, society and even what their consumer choices mean from a political stance. To make such mindful and well-informed decisions, millennials expect information to be high-quality and transparent, buying from (and into) brands they can trust – which almost feels alien compared to the traditions, closed circuits and the mystery that’s associated with today’s art market.

Another interesting application of Big Data in the art world is taking place online, with brands like Artsy and Sotheby’s snapping up ArtAdvisor and Thread Genius, respectively. Both acquired art-tech startups specialize in recommendation engines, aspiring to become the ‘Netflix’ or ‘Spotify’ of the art world. By crunching a variety of data sets, these applications provide personalized recommendations of artists and even individual pieces that a user might be interested in.

To summarize, with our industry understanding and the latest insights from our panel discussion at Deloitte’s 11th Art & Finance Conference, it’s clear that Big Data is happening in the art world, and we can expect a lot more to come. While accessing credible, verified transaction data remains to be of the biggest barriers, the future for the art market is looking more transparent and much bigger, as technology helps soften geographical boundaries for art collectors.

With more access to rich data, like Arius art data sets, the art market will become more knowledgeable about the physical art piece, helping reduce fraud with digital fingerprinting, and even reducing costs associated with degradation risks, because signs of aging can be identified, and even predicted, sooner.

We’re excited about the future in art technology and look forward to receiving Deloitte’s 2019 Art and Finance report. Find out more information about the report and download the 2017 edition on Deloitte’s site.

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