The Artist’s Resale Right: The impact on artists

May 28, 2013 Comments Off on The Artist’s Resale Right: The impact on artists News

Marcel Barbeau auction sales eligible for the Artist Resale Right

Ouvri by Marcel Barbeau

Between 1989 and 2013, at least 40 artworks by Marcel Barbeau sold at auction that should have been eligible for ARR royalties. The total ARR lost amounts to $9,824. The lowest royalty he should have received would be $50, and the highest royalty would be $3,650. The average payment would be $246.

The highest price that his work has commanded at auction to-date sold for $75,000: “Ouvri,” sold at Heffel Fine Art in Vancouver in 2008.

The Artist Resale Right compensates artists as contributors to their work’s value
The Artist Resale Right acknowledges that an artist is an important contributor to their work’s value and allows artists to share in the ongoing commercial success of their work. It provides artists with a more sustainable income based on the value of their own work. If the work is donated to an institution or gifted to a friend, the ARR is the only opportunity for the artist to receive income from that work. Barbeau agrees with this point: “One of the works I produced in 1956, which I had given to a friend was sold by his heir at auction for a little more than $75,000. I did not receive one cent from this sale. Others are getting rich on my works, while my situation remains very insecure at 85 years of age.”

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Mary Pratt auction sales eligible for the Artist Resale Right

Primary Fruit by Mary Pratt

Between 1996 and 2013, at least 36 artworks by Mary Pratt sold at auction that should have been eligible for ARR royalties. The total ARR lost amounts to $21,132. The lowest royalty she should have received would be $60, and the highest royalty would be $2,375. The average payment would be $587.

The highest price that her work has commanded at auction to-date sold for $47,500: “Gold Pear in Red,” sold at Heffel Fine Art in 2007.

The Artist Resale Right makes a difference to senior artists’ ability to earn a living
The ARR would provide a substantial benefit to Canada’s senior artists, in particular. It is often taken for granted that artists thrive once they become established, but CARFAC has found that even Governor General Award winning artists find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living from their art. The implementation of an ARR in Canada would provide greater financial independence for our senior artists, many of whom are in need. As Mary Pratt describes: “I have seen my work escalate in value by quite a big percentage. A painting done in 1966 fetched $40 and is valued now at $20,000. As we get older it gets harder and harder to find the energy to produce enough work to maintain a decent living.”

Joe Fafard auction sales eligible for the Artist Resale Right

Auguste by Joe Fafard

Between 1994 and 2012, at least 65 artworks by Joe Fafard sold at auction that should have been eligible for ARR royalties. The total ARR lost amounts to $42,986. The lowest royalty he should have received would be $80, and the highest royalty would be $4,000. The average payment would be $661.

The highest price that his work has commanded at auction to-date sold for $80,000: “Vincent Self-Portrait Series,” sold at Heffel Fine Art in Vancouver in 1997.

In 2012 alone, eight of his artworks were sold at auction. Had the ARR been in place, he would have earned $6,610 in royalties that year.

The Artist Resale Right has potential to allow artists to share in profits and support the economy
“I am in full support of the modest proposal that artists have resale rights. It seems very little to ask when you consider that the artist, through his or her efforts over many years, is largely responsible for the increased value of their work. Many of the early works were sold at very low prices because the artist had not developed a reputation. Over many or a few years, some artists, through diligence and hard work, manage to increase the value of their market many fold. A buyer reselling a work may experience a windfall or at least a handsome profit. Sharing such a windfall with the artist who is largely responsible for this happy event with a modest 5% return to the artist seems less than generous to me, but let’s start there… I also employ ten people, and I pay them every month, so any money that can come towards my company benefits not just myself but maybe nine or ten families,” said Fafard.

 

Daphne Odjig auction sales eligible for the Artist Resale Right

Between 1992 and 2013, at least 61 artworks by Daphne Odjig sold at auction that should have been eligible for ARR royalties. The total ARR lost amounts to $35,880. The lowest royalty she should have received would be $50, and the highest royalty would be $3,000. The average payment would be $588.

The highest price that her work has commanded at auction to-date sold for $60,000: “Awakening of Spring” sold at Heffel Fine Art in Vancouver in 2012.

In 2012 alone, 12 of her artworks were sold at auction. Had the ARR been in place, she would have earned $7,218 in royalties that year.

The Aritst Resale Right provides greater financial independence for artists
The Canadian art market is growing, and visual artists are losing out on the profits being made on their work in the secondary market. Half of visual artists in Canada earn less than $18,000 per year. Recent research shows that senior visual artists (over 65) have median arts earnings of about $5,000, which is the lowest of any artistic discipline, and that 32% of elder artists are at a high financial risk. As Odjig says: “This is a wonderful way for artists to benefit from their hard work and dedication to, in many cases, their life’s work. In my case it was not until later in life that I have achieved a semblance of success, and at 92 yrs of age and surviving on a small pension and returns on dwindling investments it would definitely have been helpful to have had a small stream of extra income.”

Michael Snow auction sales eligible for the Artist Resale Right

Between 1999 and 2012, at least 26 artworks by Michael Snow sold at auction that should have been eligible for the Artist Resale Right royalties. The total Artist Resale Right lost amounts to $28,888. The lowest royalty he should have received would be $53, and the highest royalty would be $7,500. The average payment would be $1,111.

The highest price that his work has commanded at auction to-date sold for $150,000: “Sideways” (1962) sold at Heffel Fine Art in Toronto in 2011.

Canadian artists would benefit from sales of their work in Canada and abroad
Once established in Canada, artists would be able to benefit from secondary sales of their work in Canada, as well as from reciprocal arrangements with other countries where the ARR exists. At least 93 countries world-wide have legislated the ARR, including the entire European Union, and more recently, Australia. Between 2010 and 2012, more than $600,000 in royalties were paid to more than 380 artists in Australia, over 60% of whom are Indigenous. The lowest royalty paid in Australia so far has been $50, while the highest amount paid was $40,000.

In 2009, Snow’s piece, “Table/Chairs in Blue/Yellow” (1957) sold at Davidson Auctions in Australia. If Canada had an Artist Resale Rright, he could have received a royalty of $65. Snow supports this initiative: “The idea of the Artist’s Resale Right is good one. People should be sympathetic to this.”

The Artist’s Resale Right > Email Your MP > Meet Your MP > Artist’s Resale Right Proposal > Frequently Asked Questions > Recent resales and artist comments > What People Are Saying >

Note: these are only the auctions tracked through Artprice.com. It does not include secondary sales through dealers, works that are not sold for $1000 or more, works that did not sell at auction, or other unknown auction sales. It does not reflect the full secondary market value of the artists.

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