“Droit de Suite” in Art Law – Legal Art Journal by Schelstraete – 2019 / 03

The artist Rauschenberg is the author of the painting Thaw. Rauschenberg  sold this piece to an art dealer for on amount of only 900 Dollars. 15 years later, in 1973, the same art piece was auctioned at an auction from auction house Sotheby’s. Eventually the couple Scull bought the painting for an amount of 85.000 Dollars. Rauschenberg was complete amazed by the enormous yield of the painting. When he met the couple Scull he said: “I’ve been working my ass of for you to make all that profit”. Since than Rauschenberg has been very active in supporting “Droit de Suite”.

Droit de Suite is the right of the author of the artwork to receive a percentage of the sale and purchase price at a further resale and is also called “resale right”. The resale right has the aim to let the artist take advantage of the value increase of his artwork. Sometimes an artwork pays of substantially more at a resale.

The resale right always benefits the artist and is not transferable to a third party. In the event of an artist’s death the resale right can transfer to the bereaved or other legal heirs of the artist. 70 years after the death of the artist the resale right stops existing.

The resale right is however not owed at every sale of an artwork. The selling artwork must be an original work of graphic or visual arts in which sale and purchase a professional art dealer is involved as buyer, seller or commissionaire and the sale and purchase price must be more than EUR 3.000 ánd the artist has not passed away 70 years before the sale and purchase.

The resale right is associated with copyright and only gives powers to the copyright holder. Are you having questions about this topic or would you like to learn more? Schelstraete is happy to help you. You can reach the office via or via 0031 (0) 13 511 44 20.

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