This is the first time an important artwork of modern art is bought by a digital community.
The painting was sold in 48 hours by the online seller QoQa.ch in 40,000 parts of 50 Swiss francs each, bought by 25,000 people living in Switzerland, for a total of 2 million Swiss francs.
According to the founder of the participatory website QoQa.ch, Pascal Meyer, the original idea was to make art accessible to more people. “The approach at the beginning was to democratize a little bit the art world by saying ‘why wouldn’t we buy with an online community a masterpiece?’, Meyer said.
According to the director of the MAMCO, Lionel Bovier, this project reflect the true nature of art, where it doesn’t belong to only one person. “Here, we are in the heart of what constitute art, in my opinion, meaning, it never belongs to anyone, it belongs to the community”, Bovier said.
The team of QoQa.ch set up an interactive device around the painting. People who come to admire “The Mousquetaire Buste” can also see a list with the names of all the people who contributed to buy the painting. A live camera allows people connected on the website to watch the painting and its visitors.
QoQa.ch also sent a card to the buyers who requested it, in order to see their names appearing on the wall next to the painting with a note saying “thank you for having made this possible”.
One of the painting’s buyers, Marie-Claude Roberi, a retired person who lives in Lausanne, said the goal here was to be part of a collective action and doesn’t feel she “own” the painting. 35-years old stretcher bearer at Geneva hospital Jean-Marc Saredi said he was also seduced by the collective approach on the QoQa.ch project.
This is not the first time Swiss citizen gathered to buy a piece of art. 50 years ago, the city of Basel proposed to its inhabitants to increase the amount of their taxes, by referendum, in order to buy two paintings of Picasso. The “yes” won and the painter, moved by the gesture, decided to offer several of his paintings to the Swiss city.
“The Mousquetaire Buste” will stay 6 months at MAMCO and will then move to another museum.
If the majority of the buyers want to sell it, QoQa.ch will refund every contributions made and plans to give all profits to a charity.