Yves Klein (1928-1962, previously) offered a limited “edition” of ten “Zones of Immaterial Pictorial Sensibility” to collectors in exchange for specified weights of gold. A receipt was issued for every one, stating the weight of gold handed over. The receipt was burned and then half the gold was irretrievably thrown away so there could be no question of the buyer owning any physical object or residue, apart from their memory of the action. Note that although he doesn’t spell it out, the assumption must be that Klein shrewdly kept the other half of the gold. Even a mystical conceptual artist has to eat. Observe also the bow tie that seems to have been de rigeur for Continental artists circa 1960. All images here are from the Yves Klein Archives.
Text above says:
“If someone should prefer to acquire an immateriel [NB: all errors or quirks of English are Klein’s] zone of Pictorial sensibility… or voïd… anonymously… He may do so without any ritual…
The gold can be BURNED instead of TROWED in the RIVA. (GOLD BURNING MAKES BLUE FIRE).
RITUAL FOR THE RELINQUISHMENT
OF THE IMMATERIAL PICTORIAL
The immaterial pictorial sensitivity zones of Yves KLEIN the Monochrome are relinquished against a certain weight of fine gold. Seven series of these pictural immaterial zones all numbered exist already. For each zone relinquished a receipt is given. This receipt indicates the exact weight of pure gold which is the material value correspondent to the immaterial acquired.
The zones are transferable by their owner. (See rules on each receipt).
Every possible buyer of an immaterial pictorial sensitivity zone must realize that he accepts a receipt for the price which he has payed takes away all authentic immaterial value from the work, although it is in his possession.
In order that the fundamental immaterial valie of the zone belongs to him and becomes a part of him, he must solemnly burn his receipt, after his first name, last name, his address and the date of the purchase have been written on the stub of the receipt book.
In case the buyer wishes this act of integration of the work of art with himself to take place, Yves Klein must, in the presence of an Art Museum Director, or an Art Gallery Expert, or an Art Critic, plus two witnesses, throw half of the gold received in the the [sic] ocean, into a river or in some place in nature where this gold cannot be retrieved by any one.
From this moment on, the immaterial pictorial sensitivity zone belongs to the buyer absolutely and intrinsically.
The zone having been relinquished in this way are then not any more transferable by their owner.
The actions shown in these photos took place almost exactly fifty years ago, in January and February of 1962. Sadly, within months of transferring the immaterial zones Klein was dead from a series of heart attacks, barely 34 years old and never to see his son who was born later that year.
Random, semi-unrelated fact: Yves Klein was also a 4th Dan judo master who studied in Japan.