Artist Damien Hirst has joined other blue chip British artists in supporting the impending change to the laws on the resale of art for living artists and the estates of artists who have died less than 100 years ago. Hirst, who stands to benifit from the change in the law, more than any other UK artist stated; ‘I’m pleased that the Artist’s Resale Right is finally to be extended to heirs and beneficiaries as in most other EU states. We need to recognise financially their role in preserving art. They spend a lot of time and energy on this and they should have some support.’
Artists are being rallied to support the final implementation of the Right for artists, their families and beneficiaries to collect a royalty on the resale of their work . The Artist’s Resale Right will be fully established on 1 January 2012 aligning it with all other EU member states. DACS (Design and Artists Copyright Society) are asking people to sign a petition welcoming the final implementation and calling on the UK Government and European Commission to recognise the importance of the Right in supporting artists, their families and beneficiaries.
The Right currently allows visual artists an ongoing stake in the value of their work by paying artists a modest royalty when their works are resold through auction houses, galleries, and art dealers. The full implementation of the Right will extend this royalty to deceased artists’ families and beneficiaries, providing desperately needed funding for managing an artist’s estate, including the costs of storage, conservation, cataloguing, research, restoration, assessment of provenance, and the identification of fakes. Since the first stage of implementation in February 2006, DACS has paid more than 2000 artists over £12 million in resale royalties.
Despite fears that the Artist’s Resale Right would divert sales from the UK to countries which do not have an equivalent right, there has been no evidence to support this. The Right has several mechanisms in place to protect the interests of the art trade including tiered royalty rates ranging from 4% down to 0.25% which are dictated by law, and most significantly, a cap on the royalty an artist can receive on a single sale of €12,500 (approximately £11,000).
Gilane Tawadros, Chief Executive of DACS says: “There are far greater costs associated with selling works of art that dwarf the impact of the resale right. When Alberto Giacometti’s Walking Man I sold for £58 million in the UK in February 2010, it earned £7 million in buyer’s premium for the auction house. Compare this to the £2.4 million in resale royalties which were generated by the entire UK art market during the whole of 2010.“‘We are delighted that artists’ families and beneficiaries will now benefit from this important Right. In addition, the Government’s decision to rectify a mistake in the original legislation brings the UK into line with the rest of Europe meaning that many more heirs and beneficiaries can benefit.’
A second change to the Right will mean that artists from some countries outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will no longer enjoy reciprocal resale rights, and UK artists will no longer receive royalties from some countries outside of the EEA. Many auction houses and dealers in the UK have protested against this change to the law stating that it will give countries outside the UK an unfair advantage as they have not signed up to the agreement.
Photo: © ArtLyst Damien Hirst @ Wallace Collection