portrait painted using artificial intelligence sells for $432,000

portrait painted using artificial intelligence sells for $432,000

an artwork created using AI has been sold at auction. the portrait painted using artificial intelligence sold at christie’s in new york on thursday for $432,500 – it’s estimated price was between $7,000 and $10,000. the portrait is the first piece of AI art to go under the hammer at a major auction house.


the painting, called portrait of edmond belamy, was created by paris-based art collective obvious and is the first piece of AI art to go under the hammer at a major auction house. the artwork was produced using an algorithm and a data set of 15,000 portraits painted between the 14th and 20th centuries. 

portrait painted using artificial intelligence sells for $432,000

the portrait was made using ink, canvas and an artificial intelligence algorithm, and was signed with a math equation

image courtesy of obvious



beyond the fact it was created using an archive of historical paintings, the portrait has come under scrutiny regarding the technology it employs in the first place. other artists who work with AI have come out and said that the portrait is unoriginal. generative adversarial networks, or GANs, the technology used to create the portrait, have been used by several artists over the last three years, including by the artists mario klingemannanna ridler and robbie barrat.

portrait painted using artificial intelligence sells for $432,000

image courtesy of christie’s



barrat has even gone as far as to say that this particular work uses a code he himself had written. obvious told the technology website the verge on tuesday that it did use barrat’s code, but modified it.



we would like to thank the AI community, especially to those who have been pioneering the use of this new technology, including ian goodfellow, the creator of the GAN algorithm,’ obvious said in its statement today. ‘and artist robbie barrat, who has been a great influence for us.’ obvious describes itself as ‘a collective of friends, artists, and researchers, driven by a common sensibility regarding questions bounded to the increasing advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning’. 

  • There’s always someone saying; “Where’s MY cut?”, once a dollar is made anywhere.


    JimCan says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

art news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
503,288 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
designboom magazine