A Quick Look at February In London

The Telegraph has a good look at upcoming February auctions sales in London.  The London auctions in February will be looking at sales for Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art, with expectations of over $800 million is total sales.

This will be the first year for UK artist's resale royalty charges and it applies to living artists as well as those European artists who have died in the past 70 years.  There expectations that the new law and royalty fee would hinder consignments, but so far it appears not as expectations for February sales are high.

The Telegraph reports on the sales and artist's rights
London’s auctioneers have gathered a bumper crop of Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary art for the February sales, which go on view from Thursday. The jam-packed fortnight is hoped to bring as much £562 million, which, if it materialises, will be one of the highest totals on record. The level of consignments has been achieved in spite of the artist’s resale royalty charge, which has applied since January 1, not just to works of living European artists, but also to European artists who have died in the past 70 years.

In the Impressionist and modern art sales next week, the charges will apply to a whole raft of artists from Picasso and Giacometti to Henry Moore and Joan MirĂ³. Next week, the highest prices at Sotheby’s and Christie’s are expected for works by MirĂ³, with the artist’s early surrealist Peinture (1933, pictured), estimated at £7-10 million.

In the contemporary art sales the following week, only works by non-European artists will escape the charges. These will now be applied as a percentage of the hammer prices on a sliding scale from 4 per cent on prices between 1,000 and 50,000 euros to 0.25 per cent on prices over 2 million euros, capped at a maximum of 12,500 euros.

Last February, when the tax applied only to living European artists, the corresponding London sales brought £435 million, so, although it was feared that the new charges would reduce consignments to the London market, that fear has not been realised.

Meanwhile, dealers have launched a petition to the Government to either raise the minimum threshold of the charge or to exert pressure on the European Commission to change the directive. They argue that the extra tax will make them less able to support artists or their estates, an important function of the art market that no other profession can fulfil.
Source: The Telegraph

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