Proposed Law Regulating Art Sales Would Destroy German Art Market Experts Say

Henri Neuendorf

Specialist, Post-War and Contemporary Art

Experts agree the law would damage the German art trade.

The German government’s planned revision of the nation’s cultural protection legislation has been met with fierce resistance from art dealers, auction houses and collectors.

The legislation proposes that all cultural artifacts valued at €150,000 ($165,900) or more and older than 50 years must be granted an export license.

Art professionals across the country have derided the plans and have claimed the legislation would lead to the expropriation of collectors.

Indeed, superfluous state intervention was identified as one of the primary reasons why the German art market can’t compete internationally.

The German legal framework has hindered art trade. Photo: Wallcoo

The German legal framework has hindered the art trade.
Photo: Courtesy of Wallcoo.

In a recent interview with FAZGerman culture minister Monika Grütters called the controversy “completely exaggerated and unfortunate.” She defended the state’s plans insisting that “the state will not expropriate, it will not lay claim to private collections and it certainly won’t pursue a socialist concept of ownership.”

She added “the cultural nation of Germany is obligated to collect and preserve its cultural property.”

The minister also dismissed fears that private collectors would be discouraged from loaning important works to German museums out of fear that once the loan expires, they will be barred from selling their artworks abroad…

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Henri Neuendorf

Specialist, Post-War and Contemporary Art