FOR the third time this year, a dealers’ survey has highlighted the unpopularity of the Artist’s Resale Right in the trade and the indifference of a majority artists to the ruling.
The latest survey conducted by the Society of London Art Dealers (SLAD) saw 64 per cent of members saying they had been adversely affected by the resale right, commonly known as Droit de Suite.
Some 76 per cent said that it had increased their workload and 63 per cent felt that the impact of Droit de Suite on the art market had been either negative or very negative; 87 per cent believed they would be adversely affected if Droit de Suite was extended to the heirs of artists up to 70 years after their death.
SLAD’s survey of its 120 members, which includes many of the big names in the London art trade like Agnew’s, Richard Green, Waddingtons and the Fine Art Society, gave a similar picture to both the BADA and LAPADA surveys published earlier this year.
BADA’s survey showed 71 per cent of those dealers affected thought Droit de Suite had negatively impacted on business and the market as a whole, while in the LAPADA survey this figure was 83 per cent. Published at the end of last month, the SLAD survey comes exactly a year since the first Droit de Suite payouts to artists began.
The Design and Artist’s Copyright Society (DACS), the body which collects the resale payments on behalf of artists, has paid out £2.2m resale royalties since the ruling from the European Union was enacted in February 2006. To date, over 700 artists have received royalties.
DACS told ATG: “It’s true that some auctioneers and dealers regard the resale right as an administrative burden, but a large sector of the trade now understand and are comfortable with it. The SLAD survey represents a small portion of the total market. Two-thirds of our submissions are from outside London, although of course the capital has the largest concentration of sales.”
The SLAD survey also focused on the reaction of artists themselves to the resale right: 86 per cent of respondents said the reaction of the artists they deal with was either neutral (46 per cent) or negative (40 per cent). The neutral/negative figure was 90 per cent in the LAPADA poll.
DACS said: “Of all feedback we’ve received, artists have always been happy to receive their royalties and we’ve never had any negative reaction at all.”
She added that a more comprehensive view of artist’s opinions would be provided by the government survey into the art market being carried out by Imperial College, which is due in the autumn.
Despite the impact of Droit de Suite, the SLAD survey indicated that London art dealers had seen a general improvement in fortunes over last year:
• 60 per cent of members reported that 2006 had turned out better than expected. Only two per cent thought the year had been worse than expected.
• 44 per cent anticipated that 2007 would be better still.
• 32 per cent saw profits and turnover up by at least 20 per cent.