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Art

Whatever the moral arguments in favour of this badly drafted directive from Brussels the result will be the closure of many privately run commercial dealerships which have provided an income for many artists. I ran The Bourne Gallery in Surrey for forty years generating Vat, income tax, rates, corporation tax etc. and took the decision to close last year before the Artist’s Resale Right did it for me. In broad terms my turnover averaged £1m per year.

My gross profit before expenses averaged 28% (£280,000). After paying salaries ( my own was £45,000 per annum) and all business costs this left around £20,000 for dividend or reinvestment. Half our turnover came from primary sales of work by living artists which does not attract the Resale Right Levy. After Jan 1st. 2012 most of my other business would attract the 4% levy. Bear in mind that I would have to pay this not once but twice.

Once on purchase of the picture ( from private or auction source) and again on the resale. On sales of £500,000 that’s £40,000 of lost revenue, not to mention the days and weeks of unpaid administrative work. I don’t think I ran a bad business. I survived through thick and thin for forty years promoting many artists and I do feel guilty about letting them down now but the future just didn’t add up.

In response to the suggestion that ‘you’ll just have to put your prices up’.. I wonder if anyone has looked out of the window recently? I invite the Minister for Intellectual Property Rights and DACS ( The Design and Artist’s Copyright Society..a non profit making organisation that reputedly pays it’s Chief Executive emoluments of £150,000 a year) to respond.

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