21st Century Artist Resale Rights
The so-called “art-flippers” are the bêtes noirs of the current art market. Criticized and feared, they are blamed for a current spike in prices and for the surely-coming-soon crash.
The flippers — like the brash Stefan Simchowitz — don’t seem too bothered by the criticism, dismissing it as sour grapes and viewing themselves as oppositional forces in an industry that has been slow to adapt.
Whether this new breed of art consumers are truly a disruptive force or just speculators in a hot market, the criticism about the art market’s mental entrenchment strikes a chord. Change simply for change’s sake is pointless, and sometimes the old ways are better… but a market that has barely evolved since the days of Paul Durand-Ruel and Peggy Guggenheim has some catching up to do.
Recent reports of the flippers’ massive returns from selling art, and the reactions from artists such as Wade Guyton, shine, a spotlight on the issue of whether the artists should be sharing directly in the profit. The question is not new, but is certainly in need of new thought. The current paradigm offers only two ways to share the increase in value: (1) not at all; or, (2) through laws commonly known as “artist resale rights” or “artist royalties” (also known by the French term droit de suite).
Some versions of resale right laws have been enacted in approximately seventy countries; standard terms call for a small percentage of the total sales price to be given back to the artist up to a certain amount (maximum €12,500 in the United Kingdom). The United States currently follows the “not at all” approach, but every few decades flirts with passing national legislation; the most recent bill (ART Act) is currently stalled in Congress and faces powerful opposition. China, the world’s second largest art market is also a not-at-aller.
To read the full article visit the Mutual Art website