The former chairman of Valentino just sold a Basquiat skull painting at auction for $93.1 million – $40 million more than it was expected to go for

basquiat painting in this case
A woman looks at Jean-Michel Basquiat’s “In This Case” during a press preview on May 3, 2021 for a Christie’s sale New York.

Valentino cofounder Giancarlo Giammetti just sold a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat at auction in New York for $93.1 million, James Tarmey reported for Bloomberg.

The six-by-six-foot painting exceeded its expected roughly $50 million sale price by more than $40 million, according to Christie’s Auction House, which conducted the sale.

The new owner of the painting has not been identified, but Art News reported that the sale came after a bidding war between at least six people from New York and Hong Kong. Christie’s declined to comment on the identity of the buyer.

The 1983 painting, titled “In This Case,” which portrays a large skull on a red background, is the second-most expensive Basquiat painting ever sold at auction. In 2017, Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa paid $110.5 million for an untitled 1982 Basquiat portrait at a Sotheby’s auction. In a private sale last year, however, hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin dropped more than $100 million on Basquiat’s 1982 “Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump.”

Valentino Garavani Giancarlo Giammetti
Valentino Garavani, left, and Giancarlo Giammetti, right, in Paris in June 2019.

On Wednesday, another Basquiat painting is set to be auctioned off at Sotheby’s, with an estimated sale price of $35 million to $50 million.

The seller of the skull painting, Giammetti, 83, cofounded Italian luxury fashion house Valentino with Valentino Garavani in 1960 and also served as the company’s chairman. He bought the painting in 2007 for an unknown price from Gagosian, a global network of art galleries, according to Art News. Before that, “In This Case” had last sold at auction in 2002 for $999,500 at Sotheby’s.

A 2013 tour of Giammetti’s Manhattan apartment by Architectural Digest showed the Basquiat skull painting displayed in his dining room, with works by Picasso and David Hockney also adorning the walls throughout the home.

Giammetti did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment for this story.

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Takung Art soars 712% in 4 days as digital-art trading booms following landmark NFT auction

Beeple V4
  • Shares of Takung Art have soared 712% in the past four days, before paring some gains.
  • On Wednesday alone shares rose 277% as the buzz around non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, continues to grow.
  • Takung Art turned in revenues of just $685,465 for the three months that ended in Sept. 2020.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Shares of the Hong Kong-based digital-art trading platform Takung Art have soared as much as 712% in the past four days from Friday’s closing price of $4.09 per share after a landmark non-fungible token (NFT) auction brought attention to the sector.

Takung Art’s stock climbed 277% on Wednesday alone.

Shares of the Hong Kong-based firm started their historic run after the digital artist Beeple sold a digital painting titled “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” for nearly $70 million in a Christie’s auction last week.

The sale brought a wave of new attention to the world of NFTs, where investors can trade digital certificates of ownership of everything from fine art to trading cars. Sotheby’s auction house is now also getting in on the NFT action following Christie’s watershed Beeple auction.

Takung Art is a holding company that was formerly known as Cardigant Medical. These days it operates an on-line listing and trading service that allows artists, art dealers, and art owners to trade their holdings in an open market with investors.

The company is focused on the Chinese market and operates through it’s main website TakungOnline.com. As one of the only public companies with exposure to the NFT space, Takung has attracted a lot of investor attention.

Still, according to the company’s recent SEC filings, Takung turned in revenues of just $685,465 for the three months that ended on September 30, 2020.

The company did manage to turn a small profit, but that was only due to other income which came from “rising from the appreciation of the Renminbi against the US dollar.”

The lack of consistent revenue or earnings hasn’t stopped investors from trying to take advantage of the NFT boom through Takung, however. Shares of the digital art platform continue to rise.

The stock traded up 41.22% as of 9:46 a.m ET on Thursday.

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We talked with Beeple about how NFT mania led to his $69 million art sale

  • A piece of digital artwork by Mike Winkelmann, known as Beeple, sold for nearly $70 million last week.
  • Digital art backed by non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, are exploding in popularity and value, and Beeple is riding the wave.
  • In an exclusive interview, Beeple told Insider about his unexpected fortune and the future of NFTs.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple, has sold the most expensive work of digital art in history.

It’s part of an explosion in the market for NFTs, or non-fungible tokens – digital tokens that prove ownership of things like Beeple’s image that you can’t even touch.

“I honestly, like, I never thought I could sell my work,” Beeple said in an interview at his home in South Carolina. “Kind of late September, early October, people kept hitting me on being like, ‘Oh, you got to look at this NFT thing.'”

Two months later, in December, he netted $3.5 million selling art backed by NFTs.

In March, Christie’s, a 225-year-old auction house that previously only sold physical art, auctioned an entirely digital piece by Beeple. It sold for $69,346,250.

“If everybody wants it, well, then it has value,” Beeple said.

The speculation in this market is so wild that when a $95,000 Banksy piece was recently burned and turned into an NFT, the NFT was sold for nearly $400,000. A cat meme recently sold for $600,000. To understand who’s paying these prices, it’s important to understand NFTs.

“I really look at NFTs as like a blank slate,” he said. “And so it’s sort of like saying, do you think a webpage is valuable? Well, I don’t know. It could be, or it could be totally worthless.”

NFT stands for non-fungible token, essentially a digital signature backed by blockchain technology that proves ownership of something.

Unlike Bitcoin, which are all identical by design, NFTs are unique. To some degree, what NFTs offer for sale is the idea of scarcity. It’s possible to buy a token that represents art in the physical world, but NFTs also back digital assets like an image or a tweet.

“So May 1, 2007, I started doing a sketch a day, every single day, start to finish, and uploading it online,” Winkelmann said. “And after a year of that, I learned a lot about drawing. Like, I got much better at drawing. I was still very, very bad, as you can see from the Christie’s piece. But I learned a lot.”

Beeple_THUMB_V1
Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple.

Beeple’s popularity caught the attention of Christie’s in December. They decided on a collage of his first 5,000 days of work that forms a square of 21,069 x 21,069 pixels. To help make his digital art more accessible, back in December, Beeple provided a physical product along with the NFT for his digital art. But for Christie’s, being completely digital is what made Beeple’s work unique – and all the more valuable.

“It’s really a radical gesture to offer for sale something without any object, and we might as well lean into that,” said Noah Davis, specialist in Post-War & Contemporary Art at Christie’s.

In the media, Beeple has been compared to artists like Banksy and Warhol, though his paid work has been as a graphic designer, with clients like Louis Vuitton, Nike and Apple.

“So I don’t really like the term artist because it sounds very pretentious and douche-y,” Beeple said.

“There’s an interesting parallel between Mike and Andy Warhol in the way that their careers developed,” Davis said. “Andy also started as an illustrator working in, basically, a gig economy.”

Critics have compared him with artists like Warhol, Banksy, and the Italian artist who taped a banana to the wall of a Paris art gallery.

“I’ve been thinking about the banana a lot, talking a lot about the banana,” Davis said. “It’s the dumbest idea, and you are basically celebrating a lack of creativity, like the bare minimum of creativity, but with Mike, it’s a ritual assignment of value that is celebrating 13 years of hard work of him doing this for no financial gain.”

For Beeple, the pace of change has been mind blowing. Back in the olden days of 2020, Beeple’s NFT-backed “Crossroads” sold for $66,666.

“At the time it was like, oh my God, I sold a piece for 66,000,” Beeple said. “It was just, like, insane.”

In December, he sold $3.5 million worth of art in one day. Then, on February 26, Crossroads was resold on a secondary NFT market for $6.6 million, of which Beeple got a 10% cut.

Then in March, Christie’s sold the 5,000 image montage by Beeple for $69.3 million.

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The runner up for the $69 million art NFT is the same crypto whiz kid who once paid $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett

Justin Sun Warren Buffett
  • Crypto whiz kid Justin Sun was the runner up in the $69 million NFT auction.
  • He tried to enter a $70 million bid but his offer wasn’t received by Christie’s.
  • Sun rose to fame after paying $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Crypto whiz kid Justin Sun was the runner up in the record-breaking Christie’s auction for a $69 million piece of digital art on Thursday.

Sun – who once paid $4.6 million for a charity dinner with Warren Buffett – bid $60 million for the digital work, called “Everydays: The First 5000 Days.” Including the buyer’s premium, he would have paid $69 million for the piece.

However, he was outbid by a mystery buyer offering $250,000 more with 20 seconds to go, he said in a Twitter thread. He tried to raise his bid to $70 million but the offer wasn’t accepted by Christie’s system, he added. He shared an email, ostensibly from a Christie’s representative, that confirmed his higher bid wasn’t received in time.

Sun called for Christie’s to use blockchain technology to make the auction process more transparent and avoid similar problems in the future. He tweeted, ” If you need my assistance in incorporating blockchain technology to your system, let me know! Happy to help :)”

“Everydays: The First 5000 Days” was created by the digital artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple.

The work is a mosaic of the 5,000 daily pieces of digital art that Winkelmann has produced since he began the project in 2007. It’s connected to a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) which acts a digital certificate of authenticity that runs on the blockchain.

Sun, the boss of two cryptocurrency companies, Tron and Rainberry (formerly known as BitTorrent), first garnered attention from the media after he paid $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffet and then postponed the meetup for more than six months.

Sun also drew the media’s gaze after he pledged $1 million to support Greta Thunberg’s campaign against climate change and said he would give away $1.2 million to 100 people during 2020.

The 30-year-old crypto boss also invested $10 million in GameStop near the peak of the Reddit-fueled rally.

Now, Sun is in the spotlight again as the unlucky runner up for the largest Non-Fungible Token purchase in history. Only two works of physical art surpassed the piece’s sticker price in 2020.

Wu Bin’s “Ten Views of a Lingbi Rock” sold for $76.6 million and Francis Bacon’s “Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus” sold for $84.6 million, according to ArtNet.

The NFT sale was also larger than any sale at Christie’s auction house in all of last year. The closest contender to the NFT was Roy Lichtenstein’s “Nude With Joyous Painting” that sold for $46.2 million.

The sale of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is the latest in an explosion in the market for NFTs. In fact, according to a study from NonFungible.com, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, the NFT market grew 299% year-over-year in 2020 to more than $250 million.

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The buyer of a $69 million art NFT is the same crypto whiz kid who once paid $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett

Justin Sun Warren Buffett
  • Crypto whiz kid Justin Sun is the mystery buyer of the $69 million NFT that sold at Christie’s.
  • Sun rose to fame after paying $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett.
  • The crypto whiz kid is also the founder of cryptocurrency companies Tron and Rainberry.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Crypto whiz kid Justin Sun, acquired a piece of digital art for $69 million on Thursday in a record-breaking Christie’s auction.

Sun-who once paid $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffett-bid $60.25 million for the digital work, called “Everydays: The First 5000 Days.” Including the buyer’s premium the total cost for the piece of digital art came to $69.3 million.

Sun reportedly paid for his digital purchase and the buyer’s premium using the cryptocurrency Ethereum.

“Everydays: The First 5000 Days” was created by the digital artist Mike Winkelmann, better known as Beeple.

The work is a mosaic of every image that Beeple has made since 2013. It’s connected to a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) which acts a digital certificate of authenticity that runs on the blockchain.

Sun, the founder of two cryptocurrency companies, Tron and Rainberry (formerly known as BitTorrent), first garnered attention from the media after he paid $4.6 million to have lunch with Warren Buffet and then decided to postpone the meetup for over six months.

Sun also drew the media’s gaze after he pledged $1 million to support Greta Thunberg’s campaign against climate change and said he would give away $1.2 million to 100 people during 2020.

The 30-year-old crypto boss also invested $10 million in GameStop near the peak of the Reddit-fueled rally.

Now, Sun will be in the spotlight once again for making the largest Non-Fungible Token purchase in history. Sun’s purchase was so large, only two works of physical art surpassed the piece’s sticker price in 2020.

Wu Bin’s “Ten Views of a Lingbi Rock” sold for $76.6 million and Francis Bacon’s “Triptych Inspired by the Oresteia of Aeschylus” sold for $84.6 million, according to ArtNet.

The NFT sale was also larger than any sale at Christie’s auction house in all of last year. The closest contender to the NFT was Roy Lichtenstein’s “Nude With Joyous Painting” that sold for $46.2 million.

The sale of “Everydays: The First 5000 Days” is the latest in an explosion in the market for NFTs. In fact, according to a study from NonFungible.com, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, the NFT market grew 299% year-over-year in 2020 to more than $250 million.

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