Letter: Fair play for artists

Sir: It is refreshing to see Rene Gimpel, one of the UK's leading contemporary art dealers, espousing the cause of artists whose reputation is still to be made (letter, 25 January). It is the work of those "young unknowns" in the UK that adds an important cultural and economic dimension to this country's worldwide reputation as a vibrant and creative society.

Rene Gimpel is also right to point up the failure of successive UK governments over the past twenty years or so to create a fiscal environment that encourages and supports such artists, whose prime concern is to take creative risks at their own expense rather than following the demands of the popular marketplace.

It is those artists (and their heirs) who are intended to benefit, in their later years (or after death), from payment of royalties on the vast profits that can be made from public resales of their early low-priced or no-priced experimental works. The resale royalty law proposed by the EU for the UK already applies in 11 of the 15 member states; it finds its justification in fair play.

HENRY LYDIATE

London N5

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