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Laws concerning Documentation and Disclosure in the Sale of Prints

The American Print Alliance recommends that all artists and art dealers, whether or not they currently sell work in New York State, know and follow the New York arts and cultural affairs law, article 15, for documentation and disclosure (in addition to any relevant laws in their own and the purchaser's location). Written essentially for consumer protection, these measures also protect the creator by providing a clear procedure and list of requisite information, including the labeling of reproductions.

Why bother with New York law if you don't live there? Because New York has, by far, the largest art market, whether measured in number of dealers and galleries, sales dollars per gallery, or total sales dollars: for statistics and a brief analysis, see the article "A, B, C's — Art, Business, Cash, Dealers," by Harold Horowitz in Contemporary Impressions, vol. 1 #1, Spring 1993. Showing a potential collector or a gallery owner who might represent your work that you comply with these requirements helps confirm your professional standing. And, if you show your work on the Internet at a busy site like the American Print Alliance Internet Gallery, you need to be ready for such inquiries. Any lawyer with a set of the New York State statutes can look it up for you, or you can order a copy from the Alliance, re-typed and organized for readability — just send US$5 to the Alliance for printing, postage and handling, and write "NY law" on the memo line of your check. Also ask your galleries and dealers if they know and comply with the New York statute, and suggest ordering a copy of this publication if they don't.

If you order a copy of the law from the Alliance, we will include the text of the "Prints and Politics" column from Contemporary Impressions, vol. 3 #2, Fall 1995. This discussion of the definitions of reproduction and the "original print" illustrates the trouble with relying upon those with financial interests to set standards. While the International Fine Print Dealers Association (based in New York City) does not draw a 'line of legitimacy' between original prints and reproductive ones, New York law does. So please subscribe to Contemporary Impressions and read it: without subscriptions, the Alliance would not exist to help you with reports like this one.

Read ARTICLE 15 — Sale of visual art objects and sculptures produced in multiples.

Read Prints & Politics— An article by the editor of Contemporary Impressions, Dr. Carol Pulin.


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