• A rediscovered Schiele picture has been transformed into an NFT

  • The sculpture, which depicts the artist’s uncle playing the piano, will also be loaned to the Leopold Museum in Vienna on a long-

    After 100 years, an Egon Schiele painting representing the Austrian artist’s uncle and legal guardian has been uncovered. The painting Leopold Czihaczek at the Piano 1907, which is owned by a private collector in Vienna, will be loaned to the Leopold Museum in Vienna and coined as an NFT (non-fungible token) by the French start-up LaCollection.

    The missing piece was last mentioned in Rudolph Leopold’s 1972 catalogue raisonné of the artist; the other key source material validating the discovery is a 1930s black-and-white image. The piece will be on exhibit in the museum for five years as part of a five-year loan (the date is to be confirmed) The Leopold Museum has the most extensive collection of Schiele’s (1890–1918) works, including 42 paintings, 184 watercolours, drawings, and prints, including Portrait of Wally Neuzil (1912) .

    According to the museum, the Neuzil work will also be available as part of the “unique NFT collection of 24 paintings and sketches by Schiele, made in collaboration with LaCollection.” The earnings from the endeavor, LaCollection’s first collaboration with a European museum, will be used to restore the uncovered picture and expand the Leopold Museum’s Schiele collection.

    According to the museum, “the curated NFT collection [at the Leopold] will highlight topics at the heart of Schiele’s large body of work that continue to reverberate today; gender and androgyny, self-identity and plurality, as well as psychological struggle.” The general NFT market is open for business online from May 16 to May 26.

    The 24 works, including the rediscovered painting, will be offered in three scarcity levels: three of the Schiele paintings, including Female nude with Raised Arms, will be “Ultra Rare” (high value) (1910). An related exhibition of the Schiele NFTs from the Leopold Museum will also be presented at White Space Chelsea during Frieze New York (17-22 May) (17-22 May).

    LaCollection, co-founded by entrepreneur Jean-Sébastien Beaucamps, has also collaborated with the British Museum in London, selling NFTs by JMW Turner and Hokusai based on works in the BM collection. However, the NFT initiative has increased the British Museum’s carbon footprint, raising questions about the total emissions connected with digital reproductions of old treasures.

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