Art traders can work together to buy paintings, says cartel body

The competition authority NMa has cleared the way for art traders to work together when buying paintings at auction under some circumstances.

The agreement has been reached with five leading traders in 19th century art and is the first time the NMa has intervened in the art market, the NRC reports.
The anti-cartel body began investigating the trade after several companies went public in the NRC with agreements made between them to pressure auction prices.
Joint purchases
The NMa said in its ruling that agreeing bidding behaviour limits competition, but it did clear the way for traders to jointly purchase a work of art.
This needs to be registered in advance with the auction house, the NMa said. In addition, ownership of the painting or other work cannot be transferred between the traders for at least six months.
The agreement is good for transparency and ‘makes it clear what is and what is not acceptable,’ NMa spokesman Henk Don said in a statement.

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