News: Christie's App Brings the Art of the Rockefellers to Your Living Room via Augmented Reality

Christie's App Brings the Art of the Rockefellers to Your Living Room via Augmented Reality

The latest update to the Christie's app for iPhones and iPads extends its augmented reality capabilities to the famed private art collection of David and Peggy Rockefeller.

The overall collection includes the works of Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Diego Rivera, Willem de Koonig, Edward Hopper, and more, with select pieces available to view in AR. Christie's deployed AR for the app last year, and since then have made various collections accessible using the AR feature.

Images by Tommy Palladino/Next Reality

To view art from the collection in AR, users navigate to the auction section in the app and select items tagged with an AR icon (an eye with a diamond shape overlapping it). Users then point their devices at a wall and wait for the app to scan and identify a space to place it.

While one might expect the app to use the vertical surface detection added in ARKit 1.5, the Christie's app only supports ARKit 1.0 in its current version. According to a company spokesperson, the app hangs flat art on walls using feature points detection via computer vision. However, an update to the app, which is expected to arrive before the end of April, will include ARKit 1.5 support.

The high-end auction house was exclusively selected to sell the collection, with the auction taking place, fittingly, at Rockefeller Center in New York from May 8 to 10. As such, registered users will be able to bid on items through the mobile app.

And while the mobile app is available to all, it's likely that only a select few users will actually use that particular feature. Why? Well, a piece by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner is estimated (according to the app) to sell for at least $700,000, and that's on the lower end of the spectrum. A painting by Edouard Manet may fetch as much as $10 million.

So no, most of us won't be able to bid on these historic treasures. But this app update nevertheless gives fans of fine art a unique and (virtually) up-close opportunity to view pieces that are not typically accessible to the general public.

Cover image via Christie's

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