Christie's Sells Portrait Painted by Machine Learning Algorithm for $432,500


On October 25, 2018 Christie's in New York sold Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy. The painting was described as a "generative Adversarial Nework print, on canvas". It measured 27.5 x 27.5 inches (700 x 700 mm.) As reported, 

"The sale is unusual not only as a first for the 252-year-old auction house, but because the expected price for the print was between $7,000 and $10,000.

"The artwork was created by a collective named Obvious. The three members of Obvious, a trio of 25-year-old French students, used a type of machine learning algorithm known as a GAN (generative adversarial network) to create the picture. The network was trained on a dataset of historical portraits, and then it tried to create one of its own. Obvious printed the image, framed it, and signed it with part of the GAN’s algorithm.

"However, as The Verge reported earlier this week, the Belamy print has been the subject of controversy within the AI art world. Obvious admitted to using code from another AI artist, 19-year-old Robbie Barrat, to create the print. It’s not clear how much was borrowed, but experts say the amount was probably substantial. It’s also not clear if Barrat can make a claim for ownership of the artwork as his code was shared under an open-source license"

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