British Museum Set to Venture Into NFTs With Japanese Artist Katsushika Hokusai

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In Brief
  • The British Museum is partnering with LaCollection to sell and auction works of Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai on digital postcard NFTs.

  • The launch of the NFT project coincides with the new exhibition of Hokusai, The Great Picture Book of Everything

  • The NFTs will be sold at fixed prices, while other works will be sold at an auction

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The British Museum is partnering with LaCollection to launch digital postcards with reproduced paintings of the famous Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai, to bring the artist’s work into the digital realm.

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Japanese Artist Katsushika Hokusai going digital

The British Museum is entering the world of non-fungible tokens, as it seeks to make works of famed Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai into digital postcards for sale in the NFT market, through a partnership with LaCollection, a French startup. There will be two hundred NFTs of the artist’s work for sale.

The launch of a Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum, entitled The Great Big Picture Book Of Everything, will contribute to half of the NFTs sold, while the remainder will come from the museum’s own collection, plus 103 never-seen-before drawings discovered from the book.  Digital images of well-known works, such as Under the Wave Off Kanagawa, Clear Day With A Southern Breeze and Ejiri in Suruga Province are among the famous works that will be sold as NFTs.

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How Hokusai NFTs will be sold

The NFTs will fall into categories of “unique”, “ultra-rare”, “limited”, and “common.” According to the CEO of LaCollection, Jean-Sébastien Beaucamps, the ones categorized as common will sell for $500. All NFTs will be sold on the LaCollection website, some at a fixed price, some via auction. 

Accepted forms of payment are cryptocurrency and fiat currency. There is also the possibility of resale of NFTs on a secondary market, such as openseas.io, for which the British Museum will get 10%, and LaCollection 3%.

LaCollection: A marriage of art and technology

According to the CEO of LaCollection, his company was born from two passions, art and technology.  He hopes that the NFT partnership with the British Museum will result in introducing new audiences who have never visited the British Museum to engage with their considerable collection of art.

He also hopes that this effort will democratize art, make it more widely accessible to a younger, international audience. British Museum licensing manager Craig Bendle, concurs with Beaucamp’s sentiments, saying that it is important for the museum to adapt to new markets and find novel ways of reaching people that traditional channels make impossible to reach.

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