The Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp (KMSKA) is the first museum in Europe to adopt an innovative funding method to expand its collection. From 27 April, people can buy a virtual share in a piece of fine art in an Art Security Tokens Offering. This allows the museum to strengthen its collection and gives everyone an opportunity to invest in art. The piece will be exhibited at the KMSKA after its grand reopening on 24 September 2022 so that it can be enjoyed by all.
In the run-up to the grand opening, KMSKA is working with the Rubey platform to be the first European museum to organise an Art Security Token Offering. Ensor's work Carnaval de Binche is tokenised in this offering. This means the work is virtually divided into a large number of equal parts. Those virtual parts or Art Security Tokens are associated with certain financial rights to the piece of art, which is used as collateral. The Art Security Tokens are offered for sale so that interested parties can invest in part of the masterpiece from €150.
Investing in art is not new. It gives mainly wealthy individuals the chance to purchase a museum-quality piece of art. KMSKA wants to use this new innovative way of investing to democratise art. It does this firstly by deliberately keeping the entry fee for the Art Security Tokens low to allow everyone to invest in a museum-quality piece of art. And secondly, the museum keeps Ensor's painting on display after the offering so that the piece remains accessible to all visitors.
“The Flemish Government's Fund for Objects of Exceptional Importance assists museums to acquire and restore collection pieces," Minister-President of Flanders Jan Jambon says. “However, masterpieces are very much in demand and as a government it is not always easy to really participate in the international art market. We therefore applaud the initiative of the KMSKA and the Rubey platform. KMSKA and the Rubey platform are making history by investing in their collection in this innovative way. They make privately owned heritage accessible again to the public and they allow anyone to invest in a masterpiece. It is an excellent example of a public-private partnership."
Collection management 2.0 in true KMSKA tradition
KMSKA's collaboration with Rubey is clearly unique, but private investors have helped museums to expand their collections for many years. For instance, the Franck family from Antwerp played an important role in the expansion of the museum's modern art collection. KMSKA now wants to unite art lovers in a similar way and it found the perfect partner to do this in Rubey. The money raised in the Art Security Token Offering allows Carnaval de Binche to be purchased and makes sure the museum receives the piece on long-term loan. This means everyone finally gets to admire Carnaval de Binche – a painting that has spent years in private collections.
A new type of community building
KMSKA has been closed for renovations for more than a decade, and is looking forward to being a warm meeting place in Antwerp after its reopening. Rubey's Art Security Tokens fit perfectly into this vision: the idea is to build a community by maintaining a close relationship with the investors after the purchase of the Art Security Tokens. For example, around the time of the reopening, KMSKA will invite all token holders to come and see the piece they have invested in during an exclusive viewing. In addition, they will be regularly updated on the ins and outs of “their Ensor”. If the painting is temporarily lent to a foreign museum or if there are any new scientific insights, the token holders will be the first to know.
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