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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Resale Royalty debate continues to drag on

Image SMH: Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri in front of his artwork Warlugulong, quoted in the article as an example of an indigenous artist who could have benefited from the Resale Royalty scheme. This work sold for $1200 in 1977 and then in 2007 for $2.4 million.

Louise Schwartzkoff reported in yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald on Peter Garrett's response to the Resale Royalties Bill Inquiry. Mr. Garrett has recommended (amongst other things) that the 5% royalty that would be given to artists with each sale of their work would not be placed on works that are currently owned by the collector and then sold, only on the second time around, "A retrospective scheme would be unfair to current artwork owners who bought works without knowing that a royalty would be payable on resale," said Mr Garrett.

However the art market is a fairly slow one and artworks are kept in families or collections often for decades. Therefore this was would not effect many older artists and particularly older indigenous artists whose works has steeply increased in value in recent years. However in the long-term this is great for younger artists who will make some money off the sale of their artworks as works gain value as they are sold and re-sold over time. The Bill has yet to go to the House of Representatives so we will not know for quite a while to full ramifications of decisions being made.
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