Hilma af Klint’s paintings auctioned as NFTs on Pharrell Williams’ platform GODA, but the artist’s relatives protest

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The NFT series “Paintings for the Temple” by Hilma af Klint come from the catalogue raisonné created by Stolpe Publishing, presented by Acute Art, and auctioned on the GODA NFT platform.

The great-grand-niece of Hilma af Klint, Hedvig Ersman, condemns the NFT auction and argues that the collection goes against the will of the late artist.

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hilma af klint nft
Source: Acute Art

The Gallery of Digital Assets, GODA, is auctioning artworks by the celebrated Swedish abstractionist Hilma af Klint (1862–1944). The NFT platform has collaborated with Stolpe Publishing, which released af Klint’s catalog raisonné, and contemporary art production in virtual and augmented reality, Acute Art. The auction opened on November 14 and will close on November 17. Paintings turned NFTs will be unveiled to buyers on November 18. Bids start at 0.15 ETH and increase as the auction progresses.

GODA, co-founded by recording artist Pharrell Williams, auctions 163 of Hilda’s artworks, which are randomly distributed. The team will keep 30 paintings for promotional and strategic purposes. A total of 193 artworks are part of af Klint’s “Paintings for the Temple” series.

The project also releases a VR and AR experience, The Temple, that takes visitors into the spiritual and mystical world of Hilma af Klint. As Acute Art explained, “af Klint’s vision has been brought alive through the power of technology in the form of an immersive 360º VR experience that will take visitors on a cosmic journey from the milky way, through enigmatic spirals in nature and into the artist’s most important paintings.”

“Beautiful and meaningful art truly transcends time, and Hilma af Klint’s work is a perfect example of that. We’re honored to show her work on this platform and to truly celebrate a remarkable woman,”

Williams said.

However, the granddaughter of Hilma af Klint’s nephew, Hedvig Ersman, said the “auction has several issues, both of ethical and more importantly, of the legal point of view:”

  1. The sale of “Paintings for the Temple” is against the statutes of the Hilma af Klint Foundation.
  2. The paintings, and the rights to the artwork, belong to the Hilma af Klint Foundation.

Ersman also reported that GODA blocked Hilma af Klint’s Twitter account, which Ersman runs.

On the other hand, ARTnews wrote that the team producing af Klint’s NFTs received permission to create and sell digital collectibles of the artworks.

Companies using the legacy of departed artists for any profit will always provoke controversy. In most cases, launching NFTs to “commemorate” an artist has to be done in agreement with the artist’s estate.

Another example of a controversial NFT collection is the “Chakraverse collection,” dedicated to the late comic genius Stan Lee. Fans were outraged that Lee’s Twitter account was used to promote an NFT collection of modified Chakra the Invincible, a superhero created by the artist in 2012.

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Agne Cimermanaite

Agne is a journalist and writer with a background in literature, culture, and arts. She entered the Web3 space in 2021 and began writing about cryptocurrency and NFTs. Agne is passionate about technology and storytelling and is always on the lookout for exciting stories.

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