Sotheby’s Introduces Virtual Reality to the Art World

By Paul Joseph

World renowned auction house Sotheby’s is attempting to propel classic art into the 21st century by creating a unique art-viewing experience using Virtual Reality technology.

Anyone visiting a forthcoming London sale of Surrealist artwork by legendary artists including Dali and Magritte will be able to view the works going under the hammer via four different Virtual Reality experiences.

The auction house has become the first to commission designers to create a 360 degree experience, translating the original paintings into a lived experience through Occulus Rift headsets. By donning the technology, they will get to see the art as it’s never been seen before.

Salvador Dalí’s Moment de Transition, René Magritte’s Le Repas de noces, André Masson’s Hotel des Automates and Paul Delvaux’s Filles au bord de l’eau will all feature.

Nigel Hilditch, Director of Video at Sotheby’s Europe, said: “We wanted to create an experience that brings a fresh perspective to how people engage with art and Surrealist works really lend themselves to virtual reality as they are so rich in depth and open to interpretation of meaning, evoking another reality in a sense.

“We worked closely with the art experts in the Surrealist team at Sotheby’s to be able to create an experience that peels back the layers of each painting’s composition.

“VR allows the viewer to fully immerse themselves in the painting – to almost step inside it and really get a sense of what’s going on inside these dreamlike worlds,”

The art pieces being sold at Sotheby’s auction of Surrealist works are expected to fetch as much as £11.5 million in total.

By Paul Joseph