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Thursday, May 15, 2008


Cheque’s finally in the mail for (some) artists

The recently released Federal Budget held at least one item of interest for the nation’s starving artists: a planned $1.5 million to be spent on establishing a resale royalty scheme. Such a scheme has long been advocated for (by Matthew Rimmer and the Arts Law Centre, amongst many others), in order to bring Australia into line with other jurisdictions including those in Europe, and North and Latin America.

The move to ensure that visual artists benefit from appreciation in the value of their works has been seen as particularly significant for Indigenous artists. Considering the current market for Australian Indigenous artists’ works, a right to resale royalties would translate to a not-insubstantial extra income for some better-known, sought-after artists.

The interesting part will be watching how the scheme develops – at the moment, tenders to administer the scheme should be sought in the later part of this year. For example, nothing appears to have been decided about the term that the right will operate for – that is, whether it will operate on the basis of life + 70 years, or how payments to estates of deceased artists might be managed.

At the same time as K-Rudd gives, however, he also taketh away.

Funding for some other arts sectors has, of course, been slashed – for example, the regional arts fund. So, if you’re an incredibly talented, established (and probably, quite old) artist, whose work has had the benefits of time and hype to appreciate (and which actually sells)– lucky you. That royalty cheque may be in the mail sooner than you thought.

For all those struggling unknowns out there, well, there’s every chance that the program you were relying on for a kick start may be pulled.

Looks like that starving artist cliché will be around (and pulling you a beer) for a while yet.

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Anonymous Matthew Rimmer said:
The need for a right of resale has been highlighted by recent art auctions.

Lucian Freud's work, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, sold for $33.6million; and Francis Bacon's
"Triptych, 1976" sold for more than $86 million:

Roman Ambramovich - the Russian billionaire and owner of the soccer team, Chelsea - has been reported as the buyer of the two pieces.
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