Monday, August 08, 2011

"What would it mean for the U.S. art market if droit de suite was made into law?"

The Art Newspaper's Helen Stoilas reports on ARS's push for "legislation that would see droit de suite, or artists’ resale rights, become federal law."  She says "artists who support the scheme say it is only fair for the creator of a work to get a percentage of the proceeds when it is resold, considering that the seller and the middleman get a share."

But she also quotes Stanford's John Henry Merryman as follows:  "The small minority of artists whose works have a significant secondary market would get richer. The great majority of artists, who have no significant secondary market, would have fewer gallery exhibitions and decreased sales in the primary market."  Shane Ferro's story at Artinfo includes a similar point:

"Opponents of the legislation say that the tax will only really benefit established artists who command top prices without the tax. Academia, for instance, is littered with economic papers stating that droit de suite hurts the struggling artists that it is meant to protect. Victor Ginsburgh of the Universite Libre de Bruxelles argued in a 1996 paper entitled 'What Is Wrong With Droit de Suite: The Economic Arguments' that the possibility of having to pay a penalty for reselling a work will cause buyers to demand lower prices across the primary market. Since lesser-known artists generally don't see a significant amount of their works resold, they will never see any extra revenue from the secondary market."

Related post here.