The Associated Press uses ArtRio as an occasion to bring up the tax issue in Brasil:
The wealthy connoisseurs flocking to the Rio show are complaining about steep import tariffs on fine art that can almost double the price of pieces bought abroad, leading many collectors to simply leave their top works outside the country.
“A friend bought a (John) Chamberlain sculpture for $400,000 at the latest Basel show in Europe and couldn’t wait to bring this cool piece back to Brazil,” said Gouvea, an owner of the Arte57 gallery in Sao Paulo. “Then he found out what the import taxes would be. Today, that sculpture sits in a home he has in the U.S.”
Lowering art taxes for super-rich collectors doesn’t rank high on the government’s list of priorities, especially following recent nationwide protests over the woeful public hospitals, schools and infrastructure average Brazilians get in return for sky-high income tax rates.
But proponents of lowering the tariffs say it’s not just an issue for the wealthy, but for all art lovers of more modest means. That’s because far fewer of the world’s best works are getting into Brazilian museums. Museums worldwide rely on loans from private collectors, loans especially important in nations like Brazil, where a culture of charitable support for the arts is virtually unknown and government investment lacking.
Art world pushes for changes in Brazil’s import taxes as dealers, collectors gather at ArtRio (AP/Washington Post)