They are a bit like the children of the Bouvier affair. Mysteries of the Gurlitt collection. And all these scandals stirring the troubled waters of an art market that, in twenty years, has moved into another financial dimension.
Born in an EPFL laboratory, the manufacturer of high-resolution 5D scanners Artmyn has just convinced the platform of online auction dedicated to Invaluable art and several wealthy individuals to bring him 4 million francs. Mostly in the hands of its founders, alongside private, family offices managing the fortune of billionaires and a Chinese financial company named Golden Partner, the SME Vaud has managed to attract a total of 8 million francs since its inception in 2016.
Lamp for opaque market
The trigger for this last call for funds? The success of his device at a summit gathering the profession in London last February. "Our presentation just finished, a big guy, black suit and tie, is heading towards us," recalls Alexandre Catsicas, co-founder of the SME Vaud. "I hope you've realized the number of enemies you're going to be doing with that, guys," says the one who turns out to be an FBI agent specializing in stalking.
This team of a dozen people has a mission to "offer a flashlight to actors in an art market often immersed in a fog ... which some have benefited greatly," breathed his leader in a cryptic way . Consisting of a puzzle of more than 25 000 plot shots of a work assembled by a single algorithm - the invention at the heart of Artmyn - 3D cartography thus obtained and its version illuminated with ultraviolet or infrared reach a precision of 3,5 billion pixels per square meter. An immersive dive in the canvas that reveals the relief of paint applications, underlayments, the reflection of the smallest varnish additions or the more modern pigments applied over time.
One of Vinci hides another
The pixel-by-pixel comparison of the image of a work before and after an exhibition will, for example, allow its owner to prove to his insurer the slightest damage, with a view to compensation "which remains today often illusory, "says Alexandre Catsicas. This former art-loving merchant considers that this innovation, yet ultratechnological, sounds "the revenge of the physical and the material".
Another example, recent. The scan of a second "Virgin in the spindle" found in France and whose authenticity divides the experts, which was a revelation at the opening of the exhibition organized at the Louvre for the 500 years of the death of Leonard da Vinci. In a series of studies - including the analysis, by a Florentine laboratory, the dazzling lapis lazuli pigment used - Artmyn's apparatus allowed to reveal, under the paint layer, the sketch of a scene of the Nativity. A palimpsest in every respect comparable to a composition of the genius of the Renaissance, tending to prove that the latter had intervened well on this work.
What to wonder about the influence that could have had the updating of the magnitude of the restorations undergone by the "Salvator Mundi" - even the absence, under the pigments, of the indices linking it to da Vinci - on the half billion dollars obtained from the resale of this oil on wood at the heart of the judicial war between the Russian billionaire Rybolovlev and his Geneva art dealer Bouvier.
From Tajan to the Francs Ports
Beyond this imaging service, Artmyn aims to launch next January in the establishment of "biometric passports" parts. "If our technology becomes popular, it is possible that, within five years, the art market will split in two, with works on which there is no hidden detail - which will strengthen the art market. pedigree ", praises Alexandre Catsicas.
Far from wanting to limit this technology to priceless masterpieces, the latter hopes to see it used for works worth a few thousand francs. This would give a completely different dimension to this "start-up" which has so far placed only five of these photo booths, including one in the Parisian house Tajan.
Renowned for hosting the largest concentration of works of art in the world, the Geneva Free Ports have made one available to collectors. They can get a digital double of their parts for a few hundred francs. "Until now, infrared analysis was reserved for rare works approaching 100 000 francs," describes the boss of Artmyn.
Art Passport Race
What threatens the activity of ArtPrice, the largest database on the art market? "Do not confuse authentication and traceability," retorts its founder, Thierry Ehrmann. "Giving a passport to a work does not solve the question of its traceability over the centuries," says one who says he has accumulated over the decades a documentary fund on "hundreds of millions" of coins. This atypical character says he knows - or appeal to - about forty companies already offering works passports. Including an RFID microchip, a DNA fragment or even a mass spectrometer, "which, like all the other analyzes, saw its cost collapse from 10 000 to less than 120 dollars".
The calculation of Artmyn is different. In an attempt to make the appeal "systematic", the Saint-Sulpice SME has entered into a commercial agreement with its new Invaluable shareholder, a kind of eBay of art, used by several thousand auction houses. extend their activities on the Net. The latter will have access to ultra-high definition scanning for the works sold through this site, Artmyn being remunerated in return for "part" of the commission retained by Invaluable. The new money that Artmyn's new shareholders have just brought in has allowed him to have his equipment produced in a factory in Ticino. Half a dozen must leave by the end of the year.
Created: 08.11.2019, 19h57