As New York Times and other outlets report, a JPG file made by Mike Winkelmann, the digital artist known as Beeple, was sold on Thursday by Christie’s in an online auction for $69.3 million with fees. Daily adds that the price was a new high for an artwork that exists only digitally, beating auction records for physical paintings by museum-valorized greats like J.M.W. Turner, Georges Seurat, and Francisco Goya. Bidding at the two-week Beeple sale, consisting of just one lot, began at $100.
In a movie-like setting, the work was set to sell for less than $30 million, but a last-minute cascade of bids prompted a two-minute extension of the auction and pushed the final price over $60 million. Rebecca Riegelhaupt, a Christie’s spokeswoman, said 33 active bidders had contested the work, adding that the result was the third-highest auction price achieved for a living artist, after Jeff Koons and David Hockney.
Billed by the auction house as “a unique work in the history of digital art,” Everydays: The First 5000 Days is a collage of all the images that Beeple has been posting online each day since 2007. The artist, who has collaborated with Louis Vuitton and pop stars like Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, uses software to create an irreverent visual commentary on 21st-century life.
Another Beeple piece, Crossroad — a 10-second video NFT showing animated pedestrians walking past a giant, naked likeness of Donald J. Trump, collapsed on the ground and covered in graffiti — sold for $6.6 million in Ether on Nifty Gateway.