Colin Gleadell brings up the nagging issue of the European Union’s auction fee for artists and their estates:
Next year, the European Union is scheduled to implement part two of the Droit de Suite in Britain (part one applied to living European artists only). Part two is a tax on the sales of works by European artists who have died in the last seventy years, in Britain. Were it in operation during these sales, it would have applied to eight out of the top 20 selling contemporary art works (e.g Bacon, Polke, Fontana) and 11 out of the top 20 selling Impressionist and Modern art works (e.g Picasso, Miro, Magritte). The tax already exists in mainland Europe, but not in the UK or outside Europe, and Britain has one last chance to persuade Brussels that the tax benefits a few already wealthy families enormously, but could further divert sales away from Europe, affecting all the ancillary economies (e.g., tourism) that thrive on a healthy art trade.
Time is running out. The French, who at one point looked to be supporting the British in the interests of the European market as a whole, now appear to be backtracking.