Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Weighing in on Droit de Suite

Last month, Edward Winkleman started an interesting conversation on Droit de Suite ("a sliding scale royalty paid by the vendors of works of art to living artists, and for 70 years to the heirs of the artists".) The premise of which sounds great. Artworks often skyrocket on the secondary market, and artists rarely get anything from this increase in value. As Great Britain is adopting this policy, critics and supporters are voicing their opinions.

London's Telegraph and The Independent both have stories on this, and have some interesting takes from dealers and auction houses (that expectedly oppose the small €1,000 minimum) and artists like David Hockney who argue that this will ultimately hurt the art market in the UK.

I go back and forth on this. I believe artists deserve every cent they can get for their work but a levy like this will only help artists like Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst and David Hockney (see the link to the Independent above). Also, when an artist is doing well on the secondary market, does it not increase the price of their work on the primary market, ultimately putting more money in their pocket anyway? I think I'm starting to agree with David Hockney. I want people to own artwork and would like to minimize anything that might prohibit that from happening.

8 Responses to “Weighing in on Droit de Suite”

Jeremy Tubbs said...
January 25, 2006 at 4:06 PM

Have you heard of the Artist Pension Trust it is a 20 year retirement plan for artists. Each artist is required to place one artwork per year in storage that will be available for loan/traveling exhibits. Showing the work this way gives it a history thus creating more value.

Participating New York Artists include: Daniel Arsham, Kristin Baker, Erik Benson, Huma Bhabha, Sebastiaan Bremer, Ambreen Butt, Beth Campbell Carter, Peter Coffin, William Cordova, Ann Craven, Adam Cvijanovic, Jules de Balincourt, Nuno De Campos, Benjamin Degen, Kirsten Deirup, David Dempewolf, Francesca DiMattio, Chris Dorland, Chris Doyle, Angela DuFresne, Nicole Eisenman, Naomi Fisher, Chie Fueki, Anthony Goicolea, Deborah Grant, Sara Greenberger, Marc Handelman, David Hardy, Kirsten Hassenfeld, Adam Helms, Corin Hewitt, Leslie Hewitt, Dana Hoey, Rashid Johnson, Y.Z. Kami, Min Kim, An-My Le, Justin Lieberman, Tim Lokiec, Nate Lowman, Adam McEwen, Christopher Mir, Gerben Mulder, David Noonan, Mike Paré, Adam Pendleton, Lamar Peterson, Danica Phelps, Chloe Piene, Kanishka Raja, Tyson Reeder, Clare Rojas, Mika Rottenberg, Aida Ruilova, Simone Shubuck, Zak Smith, Jeff Sonhouse, Marc Swanson, Mickalene Thomas, Helen Verhoeven, Siebren Versteeg, Michael Wetzel, Kehinde Wiley, Zachary Wollard
Daniel Zeller

So these are emerging mid-career young artist in their 20s-30s that the APT feels is a good investment...

I really want to Google all these artist and find out who they are.. i only know who "Chloe Piene" is and that is because she has an acting career, too. So much for the famous artists... these are our new "Elite"?

There are also APT for Los Angeles,Berlin and London. Lot so info on the artistpensiontrust.org website and also in the San Francisco Chroniclehere. From the way it sounds the artworks are donated by the artists and kept for 20 years and then the artists get 40% of sale value. Sounds like a sweet deal for the APT. I also think the money is split evenly among the group so is only 10 of the proposed 250 artist become famous they all get the same pension amount. Sounds strange... Didn't Jasper Johns do this for himself? Also, this program seems similar to what Saatchi did with the young "Sensation" artists except it was for his personal gain. He purchased the work had it shown in traveling exhibits and is now cashing in on the fame it has acquired.

There is alot of articles out there I first read about it in Wired Magazine, of all places.

Please, Look up some of the artists on the above list and tell me what you think?

remaining, Jeremy Tubbs


Jeremy Tubbs said...
January 25, 2006 at 4:16 PM This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Jeremy Tubbs said...
January 25, 2006 at 4:24 PM

Link to a good Art in America, Sept 2004, article on the Artist Pension Trust, here.

A new trust has been established with the aim of providing emerging and midcareer artists with a nest egg for their later years. Called the Artist Pension Trust, the scheme is the brainchild of Israeli entrepreneur Moti Shniberg. It was launched under the aegis of MutualArt, which is headed by Shniberg along with Dan Galai, a hedge-fund manager and finance professor at Hebrew University, and David A. Ross, former director of the Whitney Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Serving on the advisory board are artists John Baldessari and Kiki Smith, ad historian Irving Sandier, dean of Columbia University's Graduate School of the Arts Bruce Ferguson, Morgan Stanley executive and art collector Raymond McGuire, and Whadon School professor Jerry Wind.

Over a 20-year period, each artist will invest 20 works, which will be made available for museum shows or kept in storage. The works will be sold when the return looks most promising for a given artist, with 40 percent going into the artist's private retirement account, 40 percent into a group fund divided among all the members, and 20 percent to MutualArt.The planners predict that the value of works in the fund will appreciate, with the payout for individual artists ranging from $500,000 to $1.5 million. The estimate is based on the fund's projected overall value and the proportionate worth of each artist's work.


Much clearer now... JT


Unwin said...
January 26, 2006 at 11:53 AM

Many of the folks on the list ARE elite, elite enough for the likes of me to know their work. Ann Craven paints birds, Danica Phelps charts her life, Nicole Eisenmen was in the Whitney "Buy-any-ole" at least a couple of times, Chloe Piene (same gallery as Ann Craven) draws her skeletal body falling through space...I'm not sure these artists need to create a history around their work, they're pretty much heavy hitters already. I guess the whole plan wouldn't work if they weren't. Too bad non-selling artists can't make 1.5 million by putting their work in storage for 20 years. THAT would be something.


Unwin said...
January 26, 2006 at 12:16 PM

And does Chloe Piene have an acting career? She makes videos... You're not, perhaps, thinking or Chloe Sevigny? (Best represented by her two line role in "Broken Flowers")


liriodendron said...
January 27, 2006 at 7:22 AM

This must be "topic of the Week". ;) A "Robert Genn newsletter" brings it up today.....

Get paid twice?

January 27, 2006

Every once in a while I hear from artists who would like a
small commission every time their work comes up for resale. The
French have been doing it for years. It's known as "droit de
suite," (literally "right of continuation") and it looks as if
British auction houses are about to adopt it as well. They're
talking about 3% on resale sales of 1000 euros or more. This
they intend to kick back to the artist--if the artist is still
kicking. Collectors, of course, don't like the idea--mainly
because they have the feeling that the artist would be nothing
without them in the first place. Besides, bookkeeping would be
difficult, under-the-table and quiet sales would flourish, and
wisdom suggests that even more artistic wealth will end up
being distributed from New York where the kickback idea will
certainly never take hold.

I've never liked the idea either--something my collector
friends appreciate about my character. There is little room for
sentimental ideas in a full blown capitalist society. No
architect has ever been re-recompensed when his building was
resold. Who ever heard of a jeweler getting paid every time a
ring went from finger to finger? Artists take their chances
when they make things and often get excellent pay for the work
they do. Collectors help make it happen, and they are the ones
who ought to be rewarded when they decide to move things on.

One of the more exciting art happenings these days is the
remarkable surge in regional and national art. Many countries
are experiencing a solid and growing art market. Better quality
work is turned over at reasonable prices, with reasonable
expectation of further investment growth. Some of this has come
about because of the serious questioning of the
London--Paris--New York axis by the critics themselves. Apart
from the feeling that the cutting edge is not so sharp any
more, outbreaks of the Emperor's New Clothes Syndrome seem to
be abating. As discussed in Barry Gewen's recent article in the
New York Times, the brightest critics are now noting junk when
they see it. According to Gewen, "Anything goes" isn't going so
well any more. It's in this climate that the modest collector,
who is buying with his heart and without benefit of ballyhoo,
needs all the encouragement he can get. At the same time we all
want to see that the newest forms of contemporary art are
collected and resold. Collectors should have the last word--and
the last cent. I say, put the patrons on top.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "'Droit de suite' assumes that most artworks are resold at
higher prices. Most contemporary work is not resold at all--let
alone resold for a profit. There's barely a market for it. The
artists whose works are resold are generally 'hot' or
commercially successful and have already been able to negotiate
better contracts with their dealers. They, too, have become
rich in the art market's run up." (Alexandra Peers--The Wall
Street Journal)

Esoterica: When any phenomenon falls too much in the hands of
organized money-changers and vested interests come to the fore,
a feeling of distaste and decline can set in. In a parallel
example, the once universal hobby of stamp collecting is
currently in decline partly because of an emphasis on money and
profit rather than on education and personal joy.


Anonymous said...
January 27, 2006 at 5:22 PM

Diddo.


Anonymous said...
March 18, 2006 at 9:11 PM

I went to school with Francesca, Kirsten, and Daniel-- they are all 2003 grads of Cooper Union. Kristen, Naomi, Aida, Tyson, Marc and Justin are friends of mine. Naomi and Daniel are Miami artists actually but they are doing well in NY too. its funny actually. I think certain circles help each other out with things--we recommend each other often. I know most of these people and feel that they are all harldworking promising bets albiet young..


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