In less than an hour, an NFT collection by Vera Molnár sold out during a Sotheby’s auction, totaling 631 Eth/$1.2 million in total sales volume. The collection, titled “Themes and Variations” is composed of 500 generative art NFTs that the 99-year-old pioneering digital artist made with the support of Martin Grasser, a generative artist and creative coder.
“Amazing to see how the collection is received, thank you all for the support !” NFT specialist Michael Bouhanna wrote on Twitter, celebrating the end of the sale. “I’m thrilled for Vera and Marty ! Very proud of our Sotheby’s team once again !”
Expanding past her usual use of geometric forms like squares and triangles, Molnár used the letters “N”, “F”, and “T” as the focus of this generative art series. Like in other generative art pieces, code is constructed that describes a number of shapes, colors, pixel sizes and other graphic characteristics. When the code is run, different elements with different characteristics are randomly selected, creating a surprising visual output each time.
[Learn more about how generative art works here: A New Generation of Computer Plotting Arrives at Pace via Tyler Hobbs.]
The sale is a successful proof of concept for a new way of auctioning digital art that Sotheby’s NFT marketplace, Sotheby’s Metaverse, is now experimenting with. For the first time in its 300-year-history, the auction house conducted the sale in a Dutch auction format, meaning that auctioneers introduce the highest price the piece will be sold for before decreasing the price in increments until a buyer bids or a set lowest price is reached, as opposed to the English model in which bidders drive up prices. In the case of this auction, the maximum price set was 20 Eth/$37,506.
The second NFT to mint, Themes and Variations #1, sold for the highest total of the sale, at 19.84 Eth/$37,205.95. The work is graphic, with a tomato red background and a scattering of the letter “N” in off-white, black, and red. While most works did not reach such a high total, with most selling in the lower end single digits, the secondary market for these pieces is already strong, with Themes and Variations #444, with a rare 10 x 10 grid pattern, selling for 10Eth/$18,753 on the NFT marketplace OpenSea.
With Pollock NFTs selling out for over $500,000 and this blockbuster sale, are NFTs on the up again? It’ll take more than a few unicorns to sway the market, but the current sales appear to be encouraging signs.