Artist Xavier Veilhan Sculpts a Boat—for Auction

Imagine a speedboat capable of carving the water at 46 mph. Not terribly unusual—until you realize the boat is actually a monochromatic nautical sculpture designed by a leading French artist.

The finishing touches are being put on that sculpture as you read this, at the Frauscher shipyard in Austria. Frauscher, with a history dating back more than 80 years, is renowned for building classic wooden boats and even pioneering electric boats. It’s collaborating with French artist Xavier Veilhan on a modified version of one of its boats. Called the RAL 5015, the “sculpture” measures 22’6” in length and has a beam of 7’2”. This new vessel is a modification of an existing Frauscher model, which allowed for a faster production time, avoiding the need for new engineering. As for the unusual name, it’s the same as the number of the Pantone color which the boat’s exterior is painted.

While this is the first time that Veilhan has been invited to design a functioning piece of art, it’s not his only experience with the yachting world. In 2008, he created the Furtivo art project, consisting of a 16-foot-long shark sculpture and a film that included footage shot aboard Stealth, an appropriately named, black-painted yacht belonging to Gianni Agnelli. In interviews, Veilhan has also expressed a fondness for everything from cars to boats to planes, as they present new shapes and methods of expressing his artistic side. His works further embrace movement, so he sees the collaboration with Frauscher as a natural progression.

The eight-seater RAL 5015 will be unveiled at the Hôtel Marcel-Dassault in Paris on May 27, remaining on display through June 1. It will then be auctioned in Monte Carlo on July 20 by Artcurial, a leader among auction houses covering the art market. Bids are expected in the €180,000 to €200,000 ($226,000 to $251,300) range.