Marek Claassen directs Limna, an AI-powered mobile art counseling software, at a Conny Maier painting on Johann König’s exhibit during Art Basel last week.
The painting should be priced properly at €4,500, according to Limna, the app Claassen invented. König, on the other hand, was selling Maier’s artwork for more than three times that amount.
Claassen informs the gallerist, “It should be a third of that price.”
In response, Johann König, a friend and backer of the app, shrugs his shoulders. He asks, “What can I tell you?” “A large number of people are interested in purchasing the painting. I’m having trouble keeping up with the demand.”
Claassen claims that “Johann is the only dealer who has the bravery to let Limna into his booth.”
Limna is the first app, according to Claassen, to use machine learning algorithms to determine the value of a work of art.
After scanning an image with a phone’s camera, the software, he claims, can instantaneously scrape all available information about an artist from across the internet, from auction prices to curatorial interest to social media hits to newspaper column inches.
Limna was soft-launched by Claassen this summer before being unveiled at Art Basel. The app already contains information on 700,000 artists dating from 1863 to the present. AI analysis of over 1,000,000 exhibitions and 45,000 institutions was used to produce the data.
Ultimately, the program aspires to document the presence and pricing of practically every piece for sale. Limna, if it succeeds, promises to guarantee impartial price transparency in the art market by making the information publicly available—a bold claim.
Limna sees itself as something of an art show Holy Grail for anxious collectors afraid of making a terrible investment or being ripped off by an unscrupulous vendor.
“People who want to buy art don’t buy art because they don’t have access to prices,” Claassen explains. “Limna takes away that impediment.”
Magnus, a similar website that debuted in 2016 with much hoopla before quietly dissolving, was founded by art market entrepreneur Magnus Resch. Claassen insists that Limna is a separate issue when asked about Magnus.
Claassen describes Magnus as a “Shazam for art.” “You’d take a picture of an artwork and get a title and some auction information back.” We don’t just recognize an artwork with Limna; we also identify an AI-powered price estimate. That’s something that’s never been done before.”
Limna sure sounds like an interesting idea, but do you know how AI began? Visit this blog post to learn about the history of artificial intelligence.