The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Is Selling NFTs of Artworks in Its Collection to Fund the Conservation of Degas Paintings

By June 23, 2022NFT
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Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Photo by Omar David Sandoval Sida, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 license.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Photo by Omar David Sandoval Sida, Creative Commons

The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is creating an NFT collection of rarely exhibited Impressionist pastels to help raise funds for much-needed conservation work.

The initiative is a partnership with LaCollection, a company that creates high-quality digital versions of physical artworks. The selected pastels—all made between 1860 and 1910 by the likes of Monet and Degas⁠—will be available for purchase on LaCollection’s digital marketplace starting July 14.

Funds raised from the NFT sale will go toward conserving two paintings by Edgar Degas in the museum’s collection: Edmondo and Therese Morbilli (1865) and Father Listening to Lorenzo Pagans Playing the Guitar (1869-72).

Highlights from the NFT collection include Monet’s Broad Landscape (about 1862) and his View of the Sea at Sunset (about 1862), a landscape that may have been among the first pastels the artist showed in the first Impressionist exhibition in Paris in 1874. There are also seven pastels by Jean-François Millet, including Dandelions (1867–68) and Farmyard by Moonlight (1868), as well as others by Degas. Two are from the artist’s iconic series of ballerinas, Dancers Resting (1881–85) and Dancers in Rose (about 1900).

In total, 23 NFTs will be auctioned at a starting price of $421 each. Each owner will then be entered in a drawing to win an NFT of the two Degas paintings that the MFA plans to conserve.

“By minting NFTs of these works by Monet, Degas, Millet and others, we are leveraging new modalities to be able to share our collection more broadly,” said Eric Woods, the MFA’s chief operating officer.

Founded in 1876, the MFA is one of the oldest institutions in the United States, home to over 500,000 works of art, from ancient to contemporary, many of which remain in the museum’s storage, away from public view.

Founded in 2021 by Jean-Sébastien Beaucamps and Fabian Langlet, LaCollection bills itself as a bridge between cultures, working with museums to deliver high-quality digital versions of physical artworks. In the past, LaCollection has worked with the British Museum and the Leopold Museum in Vienna.

Together, LaCollection and the MFA will also be hosting a digital exhibition of the pastel collection in Monet’s hometown, Giverny, France, set to open July 29.

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