AI-Generated Portrait

Signed by the artist min G max D Ex[log(D(x))] + Ez[log(1-D(G(z)))], world’s first Artificially Intelligence generated portrait garnered $432,500 (around ₹3,17,39,000) at Christie’s in New York yesterday.

“It is an exciting moment and our hope is that the spotlight on this sale will bring forward the amazing work that our predecessors and colleagues have been producing. We are grateful to Christie’s for opening up this dialogue in the art community and honoured to have been a part of this global conversation about the impact of this new technology in the creation of art,” the collective said in a statement.

It is the first time a computer-generated painting was offered in an auction by a major auction house. The print titled “Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy” is a blurry artwork depicting an unfinished image of a man. Embordered with a gilded wooden frame, the portrait was estimated to be sold for $7,000 to $10,000.

The painting is the brainchild of Obvious Art, a Paris-based art firm. It was created using an algorithm called Generative Adversarial Network.

“We fed the system with a data set of 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th century to the 20th,” collective member Hugo Caselles-Dupre told Christie’s.

The artwork sparked a war among the bidders which lasted for about seven minutes. The bidding started at $7,000 and went to $200,000 when it finally slowed down. An anonymous buyer on phone won the auction after competing with two bidders, one man in the room and an online bidder from France.

The head of the prints and multiples department speaks to The Art Newspaper that he does not know much about Artificial Intelligence but he learned about it after reading an article. The sale has attracted a fair share of critics who contend that the hype about what AI technology can do on its own is premature—and that the current interest is driven more by speculation and novelty than deep engagement.


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