This Week in Art & Technology

Before we start, I have been asked a number of times if I would make certain pieces available as limited time promotions. Particularly new works, so although I was going to give the limited time promotions a rest for a month or so I have decided to run three limited time and quantity promotions for the next five days at a very much reduced price.

I'm not sure how everyone gets on running limited time promotions on Fine Art America, to me the value is in being able to legitimately promote work over a five day period. I always worry that I do not want to appear to spam my followers, but feedback has been good and I have seen an increase in views of my other works whenever I run a promotion.

So here are the three new promotions that will be running for the next five days. In the future I will probably only be promoting new works, so if you see something you like now, it is certainly the time to make,a purchase.

Mountain Majesty

20x16 stretched canvas, museum quality print.


24x20 stretched canvas, museum quality print.

Girl in the Red Dress

24x20 stretched canvas, museum quality print.

On to today's update. It has been an interesting week for art and technology. Topping tech news this week is the departure of Twitters CEO, Dick Costolo. Twitter's failure to deliver on the expectations of investors has clearly caught up with Dick.

According to a letter sent to employees, Costolo will be replaced as interim CEO by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey ahead of a new leader being appointed. Dorsey told investors that Costolo had decided to move on, but others pointed to the social network's poor financial results to explain the change. Costolo will remain on the company's board of directors. "I am deeply appreciative of the confidence the Board, the management team and the employees have placed in me over the years," Costolo said.

In other Twitter news, the social media platform will soon allegedly be increasing the amount of characters that can be used in direct private messages. Clearly this is to compete with platforms such as SnapChat, but is this too little too late for the social media giant?

My take on this is that it is time they completely overhauled the platform. There are Twitter client apps which do the job so much better than Twitters own apps. For business, their packages for advertising and promoting tweets are just as confusing as rival "Facebook". The business use for Twitter needs to be simplified, although the platform in my opinion does have a more complex community than Facebook, and follower counts go up much more quickly because a tweet reaches out further than a Facebook status.

Netflix UK has been in the news as well this week, but did you notice? I didn't until I came across a third party article. The cost of a basic HD Netflix package has risen to £7.49 for new users, Netflix has announced. Existing customers will continue to receive the service at the price to which they originally signed up (either £5.99 or £6.99 depending on how early you jumped on board) until May 2016. But after that date you might have to get used to paying more for your fix of Orange Is The New Black. As soon as I finish the last four episodes of season five of Friday Night Lights, Orange is the new Black is where I'm headed.

Meanwhile something happened at Christie's when a lot did not sell! This is certainly a rare occurrence for the famous And much revered auction house. After much advance press coverage, and in a year of unprecedented interest in the private life of Harper Lee, six personal letters of hers on sale at Christie’s on Friday failed to sell at auction.

The six letters were addressed to Lee’s architect friend, Harold Caulfield, and dated between 1956 and 1961, which was the period that Lee wrote her celebrated classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Personal letters of Lee’s are rarely publicly available, so their failure to sell no doubt came as a surprise. Christie’s had said they were hoping for a sale of up to $250,000 (£163,000).

Meanwhile Christie's did fair better with their Asian Art sale. Christie’s Paris’ achieved €19,295,200 / £14,085,496 / $21,610,624 with strong sell-through rates of 71% by lot, 94% by value and 50% of the lots selling above presale estimates.

The market for Asian art responded well to exceptional works of the highest quality, private provenance and attractive estimates. Leading the auction was an 18th century 11 meters long handscroll depicting the five hundred Luohan attributed to Gu Quan. From a private French collection, it sold for an impressive €5,585,500 (£4,077,415 / $6,255,760).


Tiphaine Nicoul, Head of Sale stated: "Great teamwork allowed us to achieve such a strong result, making this sale the most important dedicated Asian art sale ever in France. Carefully curating the sale to respond to a demanding market, our efforts focused on pristine quality, private provenance and freshness of the works. These private collections were led by that of former Diplomat and Senator Baron Jean-Baptiste-Louis Gros, with a white jade bowl and cover, Lian, from the Qing dynasty (Qianlong period) which sold for €3,009,500 (£2,196,935/$3,370,640), and of the 32 lots offered from the collection of Jean-Pierre Dubosc, 31 lots sold for a combined total of €1,151,500.

Throughout the sale, collectors demonstrated continued interest in all categories offered. Another major painting caught collectors’ eyes, as Fu Baoshi’s Reading in the mountains achieved €1,021,500.

Porcelain was highlighted by a Qing blue and white ‘Sanduo’ vase from a European noble family which achieved €721,500 and by a Dehua figure of Guanyin which sold for €385,500, from the Qing dynasty. Sculptures are marked by a white marble head of a Bodhisattva that achieved €385,500. We now look forward to the next Christie’s sale in Europe which will take place in London during Asian Art Week in November". This will certainly be an event to look out for if you are in, or heading to London in the fall.

Meanwhile over at Sotheby's, A private collection of 21 works of art inspired by the US dollar, including some by Andy Warhol, is to be auctioned by Their London house.

Sotheby's Contemporary Art Specialist James Sevier said that "money is one of the prevailing themes of Warhol's work". 'One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate)' from 1962 is among the Warhol works expected to sell for millions in the July auction. This is actually one auction I would be interested in attending, not to necessarily make a purchase, but more out of interest.

I just have more than an inkling that we will see some unexpected jumps in the prices raised. My guess is that we could be looking at prices well above the reserve. If I had to put money it, I wouldn't be too surprised to see between a 5% and 20% increase over the reserve.

In other art related technology news, a visual algorithm has been developed that its researchers believe can accurately rank historical art works according to their creativity, a study published in arxiv has revealed. I find this quite exciting in that there are some probable uses that then technology could be used for in the future, such as art valuation.

Computer scientists Ahmed Elgammal and Babak Saleh from Rutgers University define creativity as "the originality of the product and its influential value", and used this definition to create a kind of "art network" based on how similar paintings are to earlier works. This barometer of originality, dubbed the "time machine experiment", looked at elements including everything from colour and texture to the type of scenes depicted.

The duo applied these measurements to a database of some 62,000 paintings, enabling the algorithm to draw parallels between these creative works, from more modern paintings to those from the distant past.

The artwork at the top of the chart are those judged by the algorithm to be more original, while those languishing towards the bottom were rated to be more derivative. The results are interesting, if not altogether surprising; Edvard Munch's instantly recognisable The Scream is considered exceptional, along with Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein's bold Yellow Still Life, and Monet's serene Haystacks at Chailly at Sunrise. In contrast, works by some of the Old Masters, such as Ingres and Rodin, slipped down the list perhaps simply proving the age-old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I can though imagine a time in the not too distant future were this concept is developed into something that might be able to assist the art evaluation process. The methods used to evaluate artworks today are often complex, this though might just have legs when ranking artworks for auction.

Lastly, my favourite iOS app this week has to be "Hooks". Available on the Apple App Store for free. The app creates custom alerts for just about anything.

Users can subscribe to over 100 channels to provide notifications and new channels are added weekly. It is also Apple Watch compatible. If only someone would buy me one! You can see the app here.

So that's today's news round up from the art and technology world. I will be writing a feature on artists who sell work on Print on Demand services very soon. If you sell your work on print on demand, please get in touch if you would like to be featured.

Let me know where you sell your art, a short description of your favourite piece, and a brief biography. Now that I am seeing an increase in traffic to this blog, it might just give you some additional exposure. I am particularly interested in artists who have been using print on demand services for over six months and have yet to make a sale.

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