DACS Meets: Maria Farrar on the Artist's Resale Right

    Welcome to DACS Meets, an ongoing series of insights from our members on their practice and life as an artist. 

    Here, London-based painter Maria Farrar shares the significance of receiving Artist's Resale Right royalties in feeling recognised and validated as a practising artist. 

    The person behind the painting

    It’s a day I’ve come to dread. I feel it in my stomach. A distinct sinking feeling. Usually I find out from a friend of a friend, in a mildly embarrassed text. The news that one of your works has come up for auction.

    In the art world, away from the studio, it’s often easy to forget that the works being bought and sold are made by a person. As a painter, after working for weeks or months on a work, when the art handlers come to box it up, I still feel a deep emotional connection to whatever is being taken. Whether the painting ends up in an institution, private home or storage facility, it still has a part of me in it.

    For auction houses, bidders and collectors resales are part of everyday life. But for the artist, auction results have a much more personal impact. The outcome has the capacity to destroy you. Usually I try to forget about auction results as quickly as I can, because I don’t want it to change what I’m going to do next. Yet I’m reminded of it a few months later when I receive a letter from DACS.

    It always amazes me that this letter contains a royalty payment. This payment helps to fund my continued existence, but it also contains an acknowledgement that I still have a connection to the work. That some of me is in the painting. And that regardless of where in the UK this painting is sold, DACS will let me know about it.

    The fact that DACS exists, and that it has paid out so much to artists continuing their practice day in and out, through highs and lows, is a reminder of the importance of the artist even once the work leaves their studio.

    When I received my first royalty payment I was surprised that such a scheme existed. I couldn’t quite believe that even years after making the work I was still entitled to a proportion of its value. For the person behind the painting this acknowledgement makes you feel like even though you can’t be seen, you’re still relevant.


    Find out more about Maria Farrar here. 

    About the Artist's Resale Right

    The Artist’s Resale Right is a vital source of income for artists working in the UK today, which provides them with an ongoing stake in the increasing value of their work. The right also plays a significant role in the art world eco-system, enabling galleries, auction houses and art dealers to contribute directly to artists and their ongoing practice.

    Recently, DACS celebrated £100m paid out in royalties to artist's and estates since the royalty came into law in 2006. 

    Find out more


    Are you an artist or a beneficiary of an artist's estate? Find out how you can benefit from the Artist's Resale Right through free membership of DACS.

    Contact us:


    Phone: +44 (0) 20 7780 7575
    Email: membership@dacs.org.uk

    Image credit: Ena Morita 

    Posted on 03/09/2021 by Bel New