Paris, 8 July 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA).
The Services Directive of 12 December 2006 is finally being applied in France after two years of legal proceedings. The bill was adopted by the Senate in October 2009 and its final version was adopted on 6 July.
The law now makes provision for new auction house structures chosen by the companies themselves. The former authorisation applications will no longer be mandatory for the organisation of public auctions.
Action houses are thus freer and under less control and are looking to the Anglo-Saxon model. The aim is for the French art market to stay competitive abroad. Private sales undertaken by auction houses have less time restrictions, the sale of brand new wares is authorised and guaranteed prices are easier to implement.
France has not met the European Directive’s transposition deadline, as it should have been applied on 29 December 2009. However, as a result of the Drouot case, the 39 indictments involved in the case and France’s market losses on the world art market, the authorities did not wish to a implement a “minimalist reform” said the Conseil des Ventes Volontaires (France’s National Public Auctions Advisory). It took some time to formulate the legislation, but the Syndicat National des Ventes Volontaires (Symev – organisation that represent auction houses) and the Chambre Nationale des Commissaires-priseurs Judiciaires (organisation that represents auctioneers of sales by order of the court) have since spoken out against the law.