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Receipt for invisible artwork auctioned for nearly $1.2 million

A receipt for a piece of invisible Yves Klein artwork was auctioned for nearly $1.2 million. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's
A receipt for a piece of invisible Yves Klein artwork was auctioned for nearly $1.2 million. Photo courtesy of Sotheby's

April 14 (UPI) -- A receipt for a piece of "invisible art" by French artist Yves Klein surpassed expectations by selling for nearly $1.2 million at an auction.

Sotheby's said the receipt, part of Klein's imaginary art series Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility, had been expected to fetch up to $551,000, but surpassed expectations by fetching a top bid of $1,151,467.40.

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The receipt was dated Dec. 7, 1959, just a few years before the artist's death in 1963.

The auction house said the receipts are rare today because Klein invited buyers to participate in a ritual that involved burning the receipt and throwing half of the gold into the Seine River in order to make the buyer the "definitive owner" of the conceptual artwork.

The receipt, originally issued to antiques dealer Jacques Kugel, was one of 100 items being auctioned by Sotheby's on behalf of art advisor and former gallery owner Loic Malle.

Sotheby's said Klein's conceptual artwork predicted the rise of cryptocurrency and the exchange of non-fungible tokens, or NFTs.

"Some have likened the transfer of a zone of sensitivity and the invention of receipts as an ancestor of the NFT, which itself allows the exchange of immaterial works," the auction catalog states. "If we add that Klein kept a register of the successive owners of the 'zones,' it is easy to find here another revolutionary concept -- the 'blockchain.'"

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Sotheby's said the buyer was a private European collector.

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