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CURRENT COLUMN

The Case of the Olympic Posters
The Case of the Olympic Posters

The Case of the Solitary Surrealist
The Case of the Solitary Surrealist

The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt
The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt

The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity
The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity

The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys
The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys

The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard
The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard

The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910
The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of the Archangel Michael Defeating Satan

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2

The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light
The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light

The Case of Leni and the Nuba
The Case of Leni and the Nuba

The Case of the Seductive Souvenir
The Case of the Seductive Souvenir

The Case of the Irish Surrealist
The Case of the Irish Surrealist

The Case of the Developing Dalí
The Case of the Developing Dalí

The Case of Nano-D Technology
The Case of Nano-D Technology

The Case of Dabatable Donations
The Case of Debatable Donations

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of the Long-tailed Monkey

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of Edgar Heap of Birds

Silent Song
The Case of the Silent Song

Aficionado
The Case of Alex and the Art Aficionado

Portrait
The Case of the Privacy of the Publicity Photo

Potter
The Case of the Potter's Portraits

The Case of the Coy Cornelius Krieghoff

The Case of the Political Portraitist

The Case of the Reconsidered Revolution

The Case of the Anabiotic Abbey

The Case of the Phoney Picasso

The Case of Setsuko Piroche

The Case of being on the Forest Edge with Vern Simpson

The Case of Being at the End of the Storm with Loren Adams

The Case of Being: Under the Table with Thomas

The Case of Wyland's Whales on Walls

The Case of A.Y. Jackson's Smart River (Alaska)

The Case of Red Fish with Blue Breasts

The Case of Looe Poole

The Case of Camaldoli

The Case of MS

The Case of the Misattributed Emily Carrs

The Case of the Doubtful Dürer

The Case of the Purloined Picasso

The Case of the Defrocked Duchess of Devonshire

The Case of the First Wife

The Case of the Dodford Priory

The Case of the Unknown Actor

Art Services & Materials


Confessions Back

Les Graff, Summer Hill

Les Graff, Summer Hill (1977), oil on board

Practical Art History
(or Confessions of a Fine Art Appraiser)

by Jim Finlay
Finlay Fine Art
jim_finlay@telus.net

Chapter 37. The Case of Resale Royalties

A resale royalty going to a Canadian artist every time his or her artwork is resold? What a great idea. It aligns royalty payment protocols in visual art with those for other creative professionals in the culture industry, such as composers and writers. The system exists elsewhere in the world – Australia, California, France, the UK – so why not Canada? Canadian artist Les Graff, the painter of this oil-on-board painting, would I’m sure welcome a royalty cheque every time his 1977 Summer Hill was sold.

Current pre-budget proposals under consideration by the federal government state that every time an artwork valued over $1,000 is sold, a 5% royalty would be collected and distributed by a government-approved agency. In the case of a deceased artist, his or her estate would presumably receive the payments.

This could work like a pension scheme for some artists. As they mature and their reputation grows, the value of their work would increase and thus the amount of that 5% royalty payment would increase, helping them pay for their retirement. Furthermore, the amount of work produced by an elderly artist would naturally decline as he or she aged, and this scarcity of new pieces would prompt market demand and value to rise, as would the 5% royalty payment. Sounds like a win-win situation.

Now, where does this 5% royalty come from? Well, according to proposed pre-budget initiatives, from the seller and the dealer. Dealers, auction houses and private sellers, among others, would be required to contribute every time a painting by a Canadian artist was sold. To help offset the royalty payment, the price of the artwork would, presumably, be increased by 5% to justify – at least in the mind of the purchaser – the additional administrative cost associated with the collection and management of the royalty.

However, Ritchies Auctioneers (not affiliated with Sotheby’s Canada or Ritchies Inc.) has recently stepped up to the plate and announced that their Project Contemporalis, Contemporary Art at Auction, will pay resale commissions to Canadian artists. Their website proudly states, “The resale commission will be derived from Ritchies’ own in-house commissions and will affect neither buyer nor seller.” They have not yet announced the amount of the resale commission, but let’s hope it’s 5% or greater.

No question, there are still challenges. For example, what about private sellers? How would private sales be monitored and the royalty collected? Would it be an honour system, or would artworks need to be registered with their owners and then acquisitions and dispositions from individual collections recorded? And what about reproductions? If they replaced originals, the numbers of works would increase to such an extent that any royalty scheme would become unmanageable.

Still, the argument could be made that if PST can be charged every time an item is sold and resold, then why can’t we consider the royalty payment in a similar way, with the benefit going to the artist and not the government?

Next: The Case of Resale Royalties - Part 2

 Fri, Jun 7, 2013