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Artist Resale Rights in Canada

By Paul Constable, Director May 14, 2013

Ritchies will be voluntarily issuing resale commission to Canadian artists. Ritchies will be the first major auction house in Canada to begin paying resale commission to artists, a practise that is already law in the UK, Europe, Australia and many other countries and regions around the world. The resale commission will be derived from Ritchies’ own in-house commissions and will affect neither buyer nor seller.


While Parliament continues to drag its feet instituting a comparable law in Canada, Ritchies refuses to let artists continue to be exploited. Artists often live in poverty while their work fetches many times over what it was originally sold for and receive absolutely nothing for it. Canada must do more to protect its artists — granting artists resale rights is the first step on a long road.


We call on all Canadian art resellers, beginning with auction houses, to institute their own resale right programs. Auction houses have been profiting from the works of great Canadian artists without giving anything back for far too long. Show your respect and appreciation of artists not with talk, but with real and tangible support.


"Auction houses have been profiting from the works of great Canadian artists without giving anything back for far too long," said Gordon Gothreau, head of Ritchie's contemporary art department. "Canada must do more to protect its artists - granting artists resale rights is the first step on a long road."
Ritchies joins a growing number of art market professionals who are speaking out in favour of the Artist's Resale Right. Cube Gallery in Ottawa has voluntarily paid the Artist's Resale Right since they opened nine years ago.
"For me, it needs no debate - It's just the right thing to do," said Don Monet of Cube Gallery.
CARFAC and RAAV are still hopeful that the government will bring the Artist's Resale Right to Canada through legislation that would apply to all art market professionals. With more and more support building every day, this seems increasingly possible. The Artist's Resale Right and the auction of a set of prints from Cape Dorset was the subject of Jian Ghomeshi's opening monologue on CBC Radio's culture program Q last week and a piece from the Economist has even endorsed the right.
"We are excited to see Ritchies leading by example," said CARFAC President, Grant McConnell. "We hope to build this momentum into concrete change for visual artists."


Join the debate on Richies Auction House FaceBook Page. Talk to us on Facebook! Let us know your stance on artist resale rights, contemporary art auctions or anything else on your mind.


Contact Gordon Gothreau email


Want to join CARFAC'S Canadian Artists Resale Right Petition?

In the last couple months, more than 600 people have emailed their MPs encouraging them to bring the Artist's Resale Right to Canada. If you haven't
yet, please take a moment to send an email to your MP through CARFAC'SWeb Form.

Paul Constable                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Director                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Artists in

Photo: © Oxford