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3AC's Prized NFTs to Hit the Market in Sotheby's Auction in 2024

Sotheby's is set to kick off 2024 with the auction of the highly-coveted Starry Night collection. With over 300 works, the collection brings together celebrated artists, early generative AI creations, and unique one-of-one pieces.

The Garden by Otherworld (all images courtesy of Sotheby's)

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In the realm of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and digital art, Sotheby's is gearing up for an auction that promises to make waves in early 2024. The highly anticipated event will unveil the enigmatic Starry Night collection, a digital treasure trove intricately linked to the GRAILS Collection by now-bankrupt Three Arrows Capital (3AC).

The collection was formed as part of 3AC's asset portfolio primarily in 2021. The Singapore-based crypto hedge fund filed for bankruptcy in mid-2022, with liquidator Teneo saying it would be selling off the firm's extensive NFT collection to raise funds.

This inaugural sale, scheduled to run from January 23 to January 30, is a defining moment for the broader digital art landscape. Despite a soft NFT market in 2023, the GRAILS Collection garnered $20 million across multiple Sotheby's auctions and private sales, shattering records and establishing new benchmarks for the digital art genre.

Notably, Dmitri Cherniak's Ringers #879 (The Goose) commanded the spotlight, selling for an astounding $6.2 million in June, doubling its high estimate.

The Starry Night collection is a curated ensemble of over 300 digital artworks, each bearing the unique signatures of luminaries from the digital art movement. These artists have not only contributed to the genre's growth but have also left an indelible mark. Among them are XCOPY, Otherworld, Alpha Centauri Kid, Kjetil Golid, Beeple, Alotta Money, and more.

What sets this collection apart is its focus on exceptional one-of-one works, alongside early generative AI creations by Cherniak and Helena Sarin. Curated in 2021 by the mysterious collector Vincent Van Dough on behalf of Three Arrows Capital, this collection has been nothing short of a revelation.

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In the lead-up to the Starry Night auction, several pieces from the collection have already found new homes through private sales, according to an announcement by Sotheby's. This includes works like Grant Yun's Starry Night Over Sausalito and Cherniak's A slight lack of symmetry can cause so much pain.

Michael Bouhanna, Sotheby's head of digital art, reflected on 2023's journey, stating, "2023 was undoubtedly the year of GRAILS, and building on the momentum from the record-setting sales we held throughout the year, we are thrilled to kick off 2024 with Starry Night. Specially curated to spotlight the leading artists and creators at the center of the digital art movement, Starry Night, like GRAILS, is a singular collection that was formed during a unique time in the digital art market that is unlikely to ever be replicated. To share these much-coveted works once again will mark another milestone for the digital art community."

As the Starry Night auction approaches, it offers a fascinating lens through which to observe the continued evolution of digital art in the broader context of the NFT market.

Auction Highlights

At the heart of the Starry Night collection are remarkable pieces that demand attention:

Otherworld: The Garden (Estimate $30,000 - $50,000)

Otherworld's artwork ingeniously reinterprets Karl Bryullov's 19th-century masterpiece "The Last Day of Pompeii." By blending classical art with contemporary surrealism, the artist creates a captivating fusion that challenges artistic boundaries.

Alpha Centauri Kid: til death do us part (Estimate $30,000 - $50,000)

Alpha Centauri Kid, a trailblazer in the digital art scene, dares to leave behind a government job to pursue art full-time. His pieces are not just static; they evolve over time, adding a unique dimension to his work.

Kjetil Golid: Iterations II (Estimate $10,000 - $15,000)

Kjetil Golid, with his background in system development and data analysis, ventures into generative art. His pieces meticulously blend randomness with structure, offering viewers an intriguing dance between chaos and order.

Helena Sarin: K-Meanearest Neighbors (Estimate $20,000 - $30,000)

Helena Sarin, a visual artist and software engineer, collaborates with generative artist Dmitri Cherniak to unveil mesmerizing works. These pieces delve into the intersection of nature and computation, revealing patterns through Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs).