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Belvedere Museum's The Kiss NFT debuts in New York's Superchief Gallery

Vienna's Belvedere Museum is sticking with NFTs.

In 2022, the Austrian museum launched into the digital world with an NFT of their most famous artwork: Gustav Klimt's The Kiss.

Fans — or investors — could for the first time buy one of 10,000 limited-edition, individual pieces from this famed icon of romantic love as a non-fungible token. It was fully authenticated by the Belvedere itself.

The rise of NFTs marked a brave new world of museum fundraising and were hailed as the solution to hard-up cultural venue's financial troubles.

Two years on, the NFT market has cooled. Its exponential growth — that got museums and artists very excited — collapsed. For many, the assumption has been that you don't hear much about NFTs in 2024 because they are no longer viable as sources of funding.

But the Belvedere disagrees.

Since releasing The Kiss as an NFT two years ago, 2,600 have been sold. That has made the historic palace complex in Austria's capital a cool £3.4 million — or €4m. Not a bad pay day.

And they still have full confidence in the technology and its cash-raising potential. So much so that this Valentine's Day they have taken their NFT project to New York City.

Painting showing two lovers embracing
The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. Courtesy of the Belvedere Museum, Vienna

From 15 to 18 February 2024 (with the preview on Valentine's Day), The Kiss NFT will be presented to American audiences at the Superchief Gallery at the Westfield World Trade Center.

The New York opening — in partnership with Nimi Collectibles, the digital collectibles advisor and dedicated NFT platform for museums — is part of the Belvedere's ambitions to sell the remaining 7,400 tokens.

The presentation — according to a press statement — will "allow audiences to engage with the digital artworks in person, with a chance to interact with a 3D rendering of The Kiss’ gallery room in the Belvedere and dedicated photo opportunities."

The Belvedere are one of the few remaining major European museums still pushing ahead with NFT sales. But they are adamant it is the right course of action.

In an exclusive opinion article written for this website, the Belvedere's Chief Financial Officer Wolfgang Bergmann states clearly that when it comes to non-fungible tokens: "we are at the beginning of our journey."

He writes that "As we bring our NFT to New York audiences this Valentine’s Day, I’m reminded that museums shouldn’t view NFTs in isolation, but as a bridge to the Metaverse — connecting the digital and physical worlds."

To encourage buyers — and to tap into the Valentine's theme as well as the Kiss' romantic connotations — each tile may be dedicated to a loved one by the buyer.

iPad showing the Kiss NFT being held by two hands
The Kiss NFT presentation. Photo: Ouriel Morgensztern | Belvedere Vienna

And, in NYC, buyers will also be entered into competition to win a trip for them and a plus one to see the original masterpiece in person, at the Belvedere Museum in Vienna.

Speaking on the eve of the New York presentation, Stella Rollig, General Director of the Belvedere Museum said that the venue was "excited to be at the forefront of digital innovation in engaging new global audiences" and that this move showed that they were "affirming our place as a thought-leader in the field."

Anh Nguyen, the CEO of Nimi Collectibles, also welcomed the fact that The Kiss NFT had already "[expanded the museum's] supporter base to new audiences across over 50 countries just in the first 2 years."

The Kiss NFT is presented at Superchief Gallery in New York from 15 —18 February 2024 (free admission).

— Read Wolfgang Bergmann's opinion article for maxwell museums on why Vienna's Belvedere is sticking with NFTs this Valentine's Day


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