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The most regulated unregulated market

Written by : Collections Posted on : 01/07/2020

The most regulated unregulated market- fantasies and hard legal realities of the art market
by Massimo Sterpi, partner, Co-chair of the IP department and Head of art law at Gianni Origoni Grippo Cappelli & Partners.

A Specter is haunting Europe, i.e. the entirely baseless claim that the art market is unregulated.
To the contrary, EU – and Italy in particular – have a range of laws making the art trade the most regulated market for movable properties. A brief summary of the legal framework in Italy can be quite telling:
– Acquisition from dealers is submitted to anti-money laundering rules and, for contemporary art, reported to collecting societies for the droit de suite;
– Any artwork or art collection beyond a certain age (70 years, or even 50, under certain circumstances) kept in Italy or being exported can be declared a national treasure (and then its movement, export and restoration must be authorised and the State has a right of first refusal on any sale);
– Capital gain obtained by selling an artwork is normally taxed (UK, France), whereas in Italy the situation is unclear, but taxation cannot be excluded;
– Detention of artworks abroad must be reported to Tax Authorities;
– And, finally, from the end of this year, first import into the EU shall be specifically authorised after demonstrating that the artwork was not exported illegally from the country of origin.
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