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Art Market Matters, commissioned by The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF), is intended to create a ripple effect in changing attitudes across Europe, where, as its promoters argue: “the art market, despite the undoubted economic and employment contribution it makes, is often treated with scepticism and prejudice”.

As with previous TEFAF publications, the initiative has been spearheaded by Anthony Browne, chairman of the British Art Market Federation. Along with the TEFAF board, who comprise leading European dealers, he believes the strength of the arguments put forward by the experts commissioned to write the essays provides the best chance for spreading a better understanding of the vital contribution made by the trade over the centuries to the development of knowledge and creativity in the arts.

Contributors include John Henry Merrymans, Sweitzer Professor of Law and Co-operating Professor of Art, Emeritus, at Stanford University. He leads the arguments of the other contributors with an essay on the licit international trade in cultural objects, highlighting institutional bias against the market in the UNESCO convention and national art retention policies. He also focuses on the antipathy for the art market among archaeologists, arguing that the restrictions they demand in order to prevent the looting of antiquities actually encourages it because they help the black market to flourish.

Other essays concentrate on the relationship between the trade and museums, the historical importance of the dealer in developing artistic talent, scholars and dealers, and droit de suite.

On the last of these issues, Mr Browne is confident of reviving the debate on the damage caused by the introduction of a tax on the resale of works of art, with many of the German dealers and auction houses who pushed for the measure to be introduced across Europe now believing it should be scrapped instead.

Copies of Art Market Matters will be on sale at the Maastricht fair, but may also be ordered direct from TEFAF on +31 411 645090.