Art market

Tribunal rules in favour of disclosing price of Conrad Shawcross piece

After initially refusing , the true price was eventually disclosed

A Freedom of Information (FOI) Act appeal has been heard on the price paid by the National Maritime Museum for a work commissioned from the artist Conrad Shawcross, above. The Information Tribunal decision, announced last month, was that the cost of of the work of art should have been disclosed.

The case was brought by John Connor Press Associates, a news agency, which felt that the sum should have been released when it had been first requested under the FOI Act in January 2005.

Initially the museum refused, although last June the figure of £13,500 was provided, after it was felt to be no longer commercially sensitive. This is believed to be the first case involving an art issue to have gone to appeal under the FOI Act.

The Information Tribunal concluded that “no sufficient risk of prejudice of the commercial interests” of the museum was demonstrated, and disclosure should have been made at the start. Matthew Davis, of John Connor Press Associates, said after the decision that museums and galleries will now “have to work much harder to justify decisions to keep price details secret”.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Tribunal rules in favour of price disclosure'