Friday, September 22, 2023

Would U.S. resale royalties help historically disadvantaged artists?

The introduction of droit de suite legislation in the US would help rectify this inconvenience for well-known contemporary artists like [Kerry James] Marshall but it would be an even bigger boon for historically disadvantaged artists who have been left out of the American cannon of art for reasons of race, gender or other socio-economic limitations. This is especially true of the many artists who lack representation or a presence in the art market until the end of their careers or posthumously.

But even if there is a federal resale royalty, the current proposal doesn’t seem like enough. For instance,

The ART Act could provide a small measure of equity to artists by allowing them a 5% royalty of the price paid for their work within 90 days when it is resold at auction. But the terms are still limited—all art sold for less than $5,000 is exempted, and the 5% royalty is capped at $35,000 regardless of how much the work sells for.

So if a buyer purchased a painting from a recent MFA grad for $5,000, and then resold it for $5,000,000, the artist would only receive $35,000 instead of $250,000. That’s a huge difference. So why the delay in passing the bill?

More here.


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