Vienna's Belvedere Museum, in collaboration with artèQ, is dropping NFTs of its historical Gustav Klimt masterpiece The Kiss (Lovers), as announced on Thursday. Billed as a "digital declaration of love," the sales will come just ahead of Valentine's Day in a limited number of digital excerpts of the iconic depiction of lovers.
Klimt’s The Kiss (Lovers) – one of the world’s most famous works of art and the centerpiece of the Belvedere’s collection – will be specially implemented as a high-resolution digital copy and divided into a 100 x 100 grid, resulting in 10,000 inimitable individual pieces that will be offered as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
In addition to purchasing the NFT, buyers can register as owners of their piece on the platform thekiss.art, where the picture can be viewed in its entirety. This entry can also serve as a digital devotion for Valentine’s Day gifting, the museum states.
“What does it mean to own a work of art in the digital age? The rise of NFTs, which has preoccupied the art world since 2020, has given fresh impetus to this intriguing question. The conversion of digital reproductions into virtual originals opens up new forms of participation that, in financial terms, should be taken seriously, yet can also be viewed playfully,” says Belvedere General Director Stella Rollig about the drop.
Love declarations aside, the Belvedere expects a high level of interest from NFT collectors: “The very small number of shares for the world market and the fact that each piece is unique is what makes these tokens so valuable,” says Wolfgang Bergmann, Managing Director of the Belvedere.
The museum states that the 10,000 NFTs can be purchased at an estimated retail price of around 1,850 euros each. A special process was chosen for this: A “whitelisting” phase began on January 26, whereby interested parties can register to purchase on the thekiss.art platform. On February 9, those willing to buy will receive authorization to purchase minted NFTs of a piece of the digital Kiss. Minting is an imprinting process through which digital art becomes part of the blockchain – this guarantees that each NFT is unalterable and forgery-proof. From February 9, buyers can complete the transaction. The 10,000 segments of the work will be allocated at random.
The drop, or official release of the NFTs, will take place by Valentine’s Day, February 14. The issued NFT certificates will then show exactly which digital part of the painting was purchased. An individual dedication of love can be added to the NFT via thekiss.art. These dedications can be seen on the platform starting February 14. The NFTs can be resold via any commercially available NFT sales platform.