Yesterday, a handful of major artists filed suit against Christie’s and Sotheby’s claiming money owed over a 1976 law in California that grants them a percentage of any subsequent resale of their work. Among the artists claiming back pay are Chuck Close, and Los Angeles artist Laddie John Dill, along with the estate of sculptor Robert Graham.
The law applies to “original paintings, drawings, sculptures or original works of art in glass,” according to The Wall Street Journal, and says that any artists living in California are entitled to 5 percent of any resale over $1,000. Though the law is the only one of its kind in the United States, such royalty rights are not uncommon in Europe.
A spokesperson for Christie’s told The Journal that the auction house “looks forward to addressing these issues in court.”