[dropcap size=small]O[/dropcap]ne week remains in the sale of famous post-impressionist Paul Gauguin’s painting, The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa (Marquesan Man in the Red Cape). This oil painting was Gauguin’s third-to-last work, from his Second Tahiti period, prior to his death on the French Polynesian island of Hiva Oa in 1903.
The subject is a transgendered sorcerer, known as a mahu, making the work somewhat controversial over a century since its creation. Two Catholic women look on disapprovingly from the background, in the foreground are a fox and an extinct bird.
The piece is available for Bitcoin or fiat. At the current exchange rate of approximately $500 per bitcoin, the asking price is 90,000 BTC (or $45,000,000). It may be viewed by prospective purchasers at its vault location in the Western USA.
Update: for price comparison, a public list of Gauguin auction prices may be found here.
Serious enquiries may be directed to email@example.com
Prominent French post-impressionist, Paul Gauguin, was a friend of Vincent van Gogh and present on the occasion when Van Gogh famously severed his ear. Not only a painter but a print-maker, writer, ceramicist and sculptor too, Gaugin expressed his volatile friendship with Vincent van Gogh in the piece, Jug Self-portrait. As with van Gogh, Gaugin received only posthumous fame.
Gauguin’s bold experimentation with ceramics and painting was inspired by the primitive art of The New World, Africa and the Western Pacific Islands. The simple themes and raw style of such newly-discovered native art captured the imagination of Europeans in the 19th century. With his Tahitian motifs, Gauguin became the premier exponent of this style, termed Primitivism.
Gauguin significantly influenced several contemporary and subsequent French artists, including Picasso, Matisse and van Gogh. Gauguin also inspired several art movements, including Cubism, Orphism and Fauvism. He is regarded as a founding father of modern art.
There are several advantages to purchasing fine art with Bitcoin. A cryptographically-secured private deal between buyer and seller dispenses with the need for a trusted third party, such as a major bank. As the agent handling the sale describes it,
The process for this transaction becomes very easy using Bitcoin. You can just do outright sale, NLock Time, multisig, all sorts of flexible stuff. It can replace a lot of the banking infrastructure in these sorts of transactions.
In other words, the escrow process is a lot more manageable, private and less costly.
In the case of The Sorcerer of Hiva Oa, extensive provenance and documentation of expert testimony, chromatographic analysis, etc. is available to authenticate the piece. The signing of such reports by an assessor’s PGP / GPG key, a process familiar to any experienced practitioner of cryptographic currency transactions, greatly increases the reliability of such proofs.
However, given the value of this painting, it must also be stated that quick conversion between fiat and Bitcoin to fund a buyer’s wallet, or the reverse should the seller wish to “cash out,” would significantly move the Bitcoin market in either direction.
The trusty Gribble bot estimates a $45 bar buy order on BitStamp would take the Bitcoin price there to nearly $10,000 – this does not account for trading across multiple exchanges, of course, nor market feedback. As Bitcoin market depth increases, it will more easily encompass and facilitate high value deals of this nature.
In 2007, the painting was the subject of a bizarre $2,000,000 Ponzi scheme perpetrated by an ex-NFL star, Russell Allen Erxleben.
Further confounding matters is the existence of a painting with the same name (but dissimilar appearance) in the Liege, a Belgian museum. It is supposed by the author of the last linked article, who investigated both paintings, that the Liege painting was a forgery commissioned during World War 2 by Nazi Reichsmarshall, Hermann Goering.
Goering was known to hoard art. It’s possible he commissioned the fake to hide the original from Hitler, who considered it undesirable, decadent art.
Should you be inspired by Gauguin’s art to visit the island of Hiva Oa, you may journey there under your own steam in the mega yacht currently offered through BitPremier.
Author’s Note: every effort was made to confirm the source of this story as a respected Bitcoin entrepreneur who could plausibly manage such a sale. A well-known business email and #bitcoin-otc nickserv registration were verified but public key authentication could not be conducted. Further, the source was unavailable to confirm the details of this article prior to press deadline but they stand as originally reported.
Last modified: April 22, 2014 15:48 UTC