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Damage to small businesses from the Artist's Resale Right

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We, the undersigned, object to the extension of the Artist’s Resale Right in the United Kingdom to the estates of dead artists, with effect from 1st January 2012. We also deplore the debilitating effect this will have on the majority of art businesses in the UK.  Unlike international auction houses, these are often small family-run enterprises of the type recognised by the Government as key to growth at a time of economic uncertainty. Far from helping struggling new artists, the lion’s share of the royalties from the extended Right will be paid to the heirs of deceased artists,  such as the Picasso estate, which are already financially well-off.  Living artists embarking on their careers and wanting to promote their art can usually only do so with the help of experienced art dealers. These dealers can also help manage deceased artists’ estates by offering storage, conservation,
cataloguing, research and restoration services. 
Artists need a strong, efficient and professional body of financially-solvent galleries, run by dealers devoting all their energies and resources towards the sale of their art works. The full implementation of the Right will hinder this by considerably reducing dealers’ margins and by increasing fourfold the bureaucracy they deal with.  Running a small business is becoming increasingly costly and the cumulative effect of 4% ARR on purchases plus 4% on sales will make it difficult for small art dealers to meet their overheads. We call upon the Government: (a) to recognise this impact on small businesses by increasing from €1,000 to €3,000 the threshold above which the Right is collected in the UK, as allowed under the European Artist’s Resale Right Directive; and (b) to exert pressure on the European Commission to change the Directive so that it is less damaging to the art market, particularly the market in works by deceased artists.

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Niall Fairhead and Christina Fairhead Fairhead Fine Art Limited t/a Images Contact Details: e-mail : Phone: +44(0)208 455 2700 Mobile: +44(0)7976 967216


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