AI-Generated Artwork Heads to Christie's in a First-Ever Sale

  • Portrait of Edmond Belamy, 2018, created by GAN (Generative Adversarial Network), which will be offered at Christie’s in October.  Image © Obvious

    Portrait of Edmond Belamy, 2018, created by GAN (Generative Adversarial Network), which will be offered at Christie’s in October. Image © Obvious

A portrait created by artifical intelligence will the hit auction block this fall.

An artist collective's algorithm has made an abstracted 18th/19th century-looking man, Portrait of Edmond Belamy, which will test the waters for AI art in the Prints & Multiples sale at Christie’s in New York, October 23-25. The print on canvas is expected to fetch $7,000-10,000.

From Christie's:

The painting, if that is the right term, is one of a group of portraits of the fictional Belamy family created by Obvious, a Paris-based collective consisting of Hugo Caselles-Dupré, Pierre Fautrel and Gauthier Vernier. 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’.

‘The algorithm is composed of two parts,’ says Caselles-Dupré. ‘On one side is the Generator, on the other the Discriminator. We fed the system with a data set of 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th century to the 20th. The Generator makes a new image based on the set, then the Discriminator tries to spot the difference between a human-made image and one created by the Generator. The aim is to fool the Discriminator into thinking that the new images are real-life portraits. Then we have a result.’

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