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L.A. Artist Sues Collector for Resale Royalities

Many California artists are unaware that they are entitled to royalties when their work is resold. The ones who do won’t pursue their rights for fear of “rocking the boat”. This attitude allows collectors to take advantage of artists. The law was put into place to allow artists to make money from their hard work the same way musicians and actors do. The unwillingness of collectors to pay up perpetuates the art world’s shady business reputation practices. I for one, applaud Mark Grotjahn for being brave enough to take on this fight. He is doing it for all artists, not just himself.

Painting by Mark Grotjahn

Mark Grotjahn, a Los Angeles painter is suing collector Dean Valentine for a 5% royalty for three pieces of art that Valentine resold through Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

California’s Resale Royalty Act states:

Under California Civil Code Section 986, an artist shall be entitled to a royalty upon the resale of his/her work of art provided that:

  • The artist at the time of the sale is a United States citizen or has been a California resident for at least two years.
  • The seller resides in California or the sale takes place in California.
  • The work is an original painting, drawing, sculpture or original work of art in glass.
  • The work is sold by the seller for more money than she or he paid.
  • The work is sold for a gross price of more than $1,000 or is exchanged for one or more works of art or for a combination of cash, other property, and one or more works of fine art with a fair market value of more than $1,000.
  • The work is sold during the artist’s lifetime or within 20 years of the artist’s death.

Good luck Mark. The artists of California are behind you.

About Gina Genis

Hi Friends, I'm a photographer and artist who lives in Washington DC. I have two blogs. The Gina Genis Blog is about art and photography. My new blog, DC Discoveries is dedicated to showing you everything from fashion to art, food to entertainment in all sections of the District. I hope you will take the journey with me. I exhibit my work in museums and galleries across the U.S. I'm included in the permanent collections of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, the Otto G. Richter Library Special Collections Division of the University of Miami, Hard Rock Casino, Orange County Transit District, IBM, and the Sarah and Adam Markman Collection among others. My series "Window Peeping" was included in OsCene 2010 at the Laguna Art Museum, Truman State University, Fellows of Contemporary Art, Biola University, and solo shows at Gallery 825 and Cypress College. The "June Gloom" series was exhibited in a solo show at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The "Kala" series has been exhibited at MPLS Photo Center, Cypress College, and Gallery 825. "Economy Portraits" was created as an Artist In Residence project at the Huntington Beach Art Center, and was awarded "Best Art Show of 2011" by the OC Weekly. I curated Wide Angle View, an exhibit of 16 international, award-winning photo and multi-media journalists at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art to much critical acclaim. Recent reviews of my work have appeared in the Huffington Post, Art Scene, OC Weekly, Orange County Register, New University, Riviera Magazine, Coast Magazine, Huntington Beach Independent, and appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, and more. I lead the Gina Genis Photo Workshops where I show beginning and intermediate photographers how to jump to the next level with their work. I also teach online photography courses through The Compelling Image.

One response »

  1. Great post Gina! Thank you.


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