Representing as you do one of the country’s largest and most important communities of visual artists I urge you to support the passing of Bill C 516.Canada is one of the developed world’s few countries who do not have such legislation in place.The gallery, auction house and dealer’s markets are against this type of regulation as it does mean further record keeping for them and they often claim that the profits from the resale of significant art works should go to the original buyer or the investor. They treat fine art under these circumstances much like a stock-market or real estate transaction.
The reality is that unlike real estate that profits from further investment interest, maintenance or rebuilding an original art work must remain very much as it was created by the artist to retain its value. The rise in any art work’s value is invariably caused not by the investor but by the further efforts of the creator.
In other jurisdictions the rules apply only to high figure sales and the commission paid to the artist or his/her estate is quite modest. What they do however is treat visual artists of all disciplines in much the same way that copyright legislation protects the legacy of writers, musicians, composers and other creative individuals.
One only has to look at the high sums that have been paid out by collectors for the work of the automatistes, the abstract expressionists and of course our own post impressionists to appreciate that nothing has been awarded back to the estates of such individuals as Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, Paul Emile Borduas or Jean Paul Riopelle! It is high time that the stars of the visual arts community were treated in a manner comparable to that earned by their peers in other disciplines. This attempt at market fairness can only be achieved through legislation of the type being proposed.
Such protection is urgent as we as a nation face further cuts to arts funding and the long range financial expectations of all visual artists are further eroded.
Anthony J Batten