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ADAA Code of Ethics and Professional Practices
The Art Dealers Association of America, (“ADAA”) was founded in 1962 with the stated purpose of promoting the highest standards of connoisseurship, scholarship and ethical practices within the art dealing profession. Recognizing that furtherance of these goals is the responsibility of each individual member, businesses are conducted by them in compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations. Beyond this minimum standard they conduct their business professionally, fairly, with integrity and with the courtesy and respect due to artists, clients, colleagues and the general public. Members treat their staffs with courtesy and respect and do not discriminate in their hiring or promotion practices based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or place of origin.
ADAA members have acknowledged in writing their acceptance of, and compliance with, the following code of ethical and professional practices which they observe in their relations with clients, artists, other dealers and auctions.
(1) ADAA members (hereafter “Members”) accurately describe all objects offered by them for sale. A written invoice containing that description, which includes the identity of the artist, where known, the dimensions and medium of the work, and other relevant information is provided to a buyer. A Member’s invoice is a warranty that the work is the authentic work of the artist named in the invoice and that clear and unencumbered title is passed to the buyer. Members exercise due diligence in verifying the accuracy of information supplied to a buyer but cannot guaranty the accuracy of certain information such as the date of a work, its provenance, exhibition history and publication record.
(2) Members do not knowingly buy, sell or exhibit stolen works of art, and cooperate with law enforcement authorities in their efforts to identify, locate and recover stolen works.
(3) Members specify in writing significant known defects and restorations of works or art that they offer for sale.
(1) A Member will enter into a written consignment agreement that contains a description of each work consigned (artist, title, medium, dimensions), the term of the consignment, the commission to the dealer or the net price to be paid to the consignor, and any sharing of expenses. The consignor is expected to warrant that the work is the genuine work of the artist identified in the agreement and that clear and unencumbered title will pass when the work is sold by the member. It also is expected that the consignor will indemnify the member against any claim of breach of any express or implied warranty made by the consignor.
(2) A Member provides a consignor with a good faith estimate of the current fair market value of all consigned works.
(3) Payment to a consignor is made by a Member in a timely fashion, as agreed.
A Member representing an artist has responsibilities to the artist extending beyond selling the artist’s works. Those responsibilities may be divided into the (A) advisory, custodial and archival, and (B) financial.
A. Advisory, Custodial and Archival
(1) A Member acts as an advisor to an artist represented by the Member. The Member seeks to enhance the artist’s reputation through exhibitions, publications, and by acting as an advocate for, and fostering scholarship regarding, the artist’s work. The Member sells the artist’s work responsibly and seeks when possible to place the work in important public and private collections.
(2) A Member exhibits the artist’s work in such a manner, acceptable to the artist, as shows the work to best advantage.
(3) A Member acts responsibly in the handling, packing, shipping and storage of the artist’s work.
(4) A Member maintains appropriate records of the artist’s works in the dealer’s custody and control and maintains proper photographic archives and other documentation of those works.
(1) A Member and an artist agree on the terms of the representation, including such expenses as shipments, insurance, photography, storage, framing and restoration. Under no circumstances is an artist charged for the use of a member’s gallery space.
(2) A Member and an artist mutually agree on prices for the artist’s work as well as the percentage of proceeds to be paid to the Member as compensation.
(3) The Member and the artist also agree on when and how the Member should account to and pay the artist after a sale is made and payment is received by the dealer.
(4) A Member acts in a trustworthy manner in dealing with an artist and the works consigned by the artist.
III. Artists’ Estates
A Member has the same responsibilities to the estate of an artist as to a living artist. This includes the advisory, custodial and financial responsibilities listed above. Members are mindful that the artist no longer can be his or her advocate and work actively to develop and foster the market for the artist’s works.
A. A Member having an ownership interest in a work does not consign that work for auction with the intention of acquiring the work at the auction at a publicly enhanced price.
B. A Member who owns or guarantees a work consigned to auction discloses that fact to potential bidders advised by the Member.
C. A Member does not bid, or agree with others to refrain from bidding on a work, solely for the purpose of enhancing or depressing the price.
A. Members seek to further mutual respect and enhance the public’s trust in dealers. To that end, Members exercise care in making negative comments about their colleagues and do not denigrate the reputation of another dealer.
B. When a work is jointly owned with another dealer, a clear agreement is made concerning the price to be obtained, the terms of sale, insurance, and the sharing of costs.
C. When a work is consigned by one dealer to another, there is a written agreement of the material terms of the consignment.
Claims that a Member has acted in violation of these guidelines should be made in writing to ADAA, which will investigate all such claims and, where appropriate, hold hearings under such rules as have been adopted by the Board of Directors. Violation of any provision of this Code may be grounds for censure, suspension or expulsion from ADAA.