New Arts Minister Carmel Sepuloni has advised the government is looking at introducing an art resale scheme although why she didn’t say. This was considered back in 2007 then wisely shelved.
The fact it exists in other parts of the world is not justification. So does capital punishment, leprosy and child marriage.
The proposition is that a percentage of any artwork resold, perhaps years after its creation and sale, should go to the artist, or where applicable, to his or her estate, up to a time limit.
The first and most obvious question is why art? Why not apply it to every commodity? Imagine if it was applied to housing or public company shares. What fun/chaos that would be.
As to why only art, we know the answer, namely a sort of unsophisticated feel good snobbishness that paintings are special. They’re not. After all if you could own either paintings or a home but not both, there’d be no art buyers.
And what if one sold a painting at a loss? If such a scheme existed, justice suggests the artist owes you. Some hope pursuing that.
I know a bit about this subject. Why? Because I buy more paintings than anyone in this country’s history and possibly than anyone in the world.
I own literally thousands of paintings and employ a fulltime buyer who purchases probably 8-10 oils each week from new exhibitions constantly taking place in dealer galleries across the land.
They’re not bought to on-sell but instead to decorate our circa 1000 office suits in our buildings here and abroad. We encourage lessees to not just have a painting in their foyer but to line their walls.
So I say again, Minister Sepuloni should think again before embarking on this silly scheme.
Should she persist let her first tell the public why painters are being singled out for this scheme and not other creative types such as sculptors, architects, yacht designers and so on, let alone anyone in any activity who sells something down the line for more than they originally paid for it. She’ll struggle long and hard to come up with a sensible rationale for the very good reason there isn’t one.