Letter: Fair play for artists

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The Independent Culture
Sir: In the leading article "Monet, money and the envy of our neighbours" (20 January) a brief reference is made to current discussion of a "2 per cent tax" on the resale of artists' works. The comment reflects much of the misinformation and nervousness generated by those who oppose the introduction of an artists' resale right (droit de suite).

Since this argument began there has been an underlying assumption that priority should be given to the needs of the art market rather than those of the artists upon whose efforts the whole of this "so valuable" industry depends.

The most eloquent answer to the art market's concern is the fact that it has survived unscathed its own very recent imposition of a 10 per cent (later increasing to the order of 15 per cent) buyer's premium, over and above the 10 per cent due from the seller. The intended resale royalty of, on a sliding scale, 5 per cent, 3 per cent and 1 per cent, pales into insignificance.

It seems there is a faction within the art market which threatens, in essence, to take the market elsewhere rather than co-operate; this in spite of the fact that it will cost more to transport works to New York, for example, than to pay the proposed resale right percentage.

The resale percentage is not a "tax". It is a basic intellectual property right.

PHILIP NATHAN

Artists' Campaign for the Resale Right

London SW1

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