24 impressionist works converted into NFT for a good cause

The Boston Museum of Fine Arts is organizing a NFT sale of 24 French Impressionist pastels held in its collections but very rarely on display. The proceeds will be used to finance the conservation of two paintings by Degas.

Home to a large collection of French Impressionist works, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) is turning to selling NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to raise money for a major conservation project. In collaboration with the start-up LaCollection, the museum has transformed 24 rarely-displayed impressionist pastels (due to their fragility) into unique digital copies that will go on sale from July 14. The money raised will be used to fund the study and conservation of two paintings by Edgar Degas in the MFA collection.


Rarely exhibited works

An institution with universal ambitions, the MFA houses in particular one of the largest collections of Claude Monet’s paintings outside of France, as well as a remarkable collection of works by French Impressionists, from Degas to Caillebotte, via Renoir and Pissarro. With this project to sell NFTs, we are responding to a double problem: to encourage new forms of public engagement in the wake of the health crisis and to devise an innovative way to display these collections of French pastels from the 19th century, rarely exhibited due to great fragility .

Claude Monet, Sea view at sunsetcirca 1862, pastel on paper, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, United States © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

We can show them once every ten years, or even more rarely, for a limited period of time.explains Eric Woods, the museum’s chief operating officer. By making NFTs of these works by Monet, Degas, Millet and others, we take advantage of new modalities to be able to share our collection more widely. To meet the same needs, the British Museum partnered with LaCollection to organize a sale last February of NFTs of 20 Turner watercolors that, according to the wish of their donor, ” can only be shown for two weeks in February or by special request and can never be lent

Monet and Degas in NFTs

The NFTs (the number of which has not yet been specified) were extracted from 24 Impressionist pastels by major artists such as Degas, Millet and Monet, dating from 1860 to 1910. Among the works chosen are several landscapes that Monet presented at the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874: Expansive landscape (1862) and veu at sea at sunset (1862). Nine Millet Pastels are also offered, including: dandelions (1867-1868) and Farm in the moonlight (1868). We will also find the famous representations of ballerinas that Degas made during his career with resting dancers (1881-1885) and the pink dancers (about 1900).

Edgar Degas, Pink Dancers, circa 1900, pastel on tracing paper © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Edgar Degas, Pink Dancers, circa 1900, pastel on tracing paper © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Certificate and other benefits

The public sale will take place on LaCollection’s digital platform beginning July 14. A pre-sale will be organized on July 13, for which registrations can be made since June 26. Each NFT is offered with a starting price of €299 (instead of €399) for all pre-registered buyers. The funds raised will be used to fund the study, treatment and conservation of two paintings by Edgar Degas held in the MFA collections, namely Edmondo and Therese Morbillic (1865) and The Vader listens to Lorenzo Pagans playing the guitar (1869-1872).

The two paintings by Edgar Degas that will benefit from the money raised: Edmondo and Thérèse Morbilli, circa 1865 and Vader listening to Lorenzo Pagans playing the guitar, 1869-1872© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The two paintings by Edgar Degas that will benefit from the money raised: Edmondo and Thérèse Morbilli, circa 1865 and Vader listening to Lorenzo Pagans playing the guitar, 1869-1872© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

The purchase of one or more NFTs (including a digital certificate and an HD reproduction of the work) also entitles you to other benefits and rewards, including access to previews or events hosted by the MFA or entry into a drawing to acquire an NFT of one of Degas’ two paintings. Owners of NFTs are also invited to discover Boston’s original pastels in an exceptional exhibition.

Jean-François Millet, Dandelions, 1867-1868, pastel on parchment © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Jean-François Millet, Dandelions, 1867-1868, pastel on parchment © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

LaCollection and the MFA are also hosting a digital exhibition of the pastel collection for Monet’s home in Giverny, France, the artist’s chosen village, starting July 29. Throughout the exhibition, screens installed in the gallery will allow visitors to view in detail works such as: The couple of water sports enthusiasts by Renoir (circa 1881) or even Two men turning the earth (1866) by Jean-Francois Millet.

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