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PARAGRAPH 470—PAINTINGS, ETC. 16. All catgut should either be allowed to enter free, or, as I believe, being a manufactured article, should pay duty.

17. If a rate of 25 per cent would be fixed on catgut in general, thus removing the necessity of trying to make distinctions which do not exist, and which have been annoyances and puzzles to all customs examiners and appraisers, including the General Appraisers and the Customs Court of Appeals, the revenue from this source would be much larger than heretofore, and all could work with a clear understanding.

18. If the duty on catgut is made less than the duty on musical instruments, etc. as per paragraph 467, then said paragraph should be made to read as far as the string part is concerned: “All strings for musical instruments excepting strings of catgut.'

19. A new paragraph could be made to read: “Catgut for all purposes, — per centum ad valorem," or free, as may be decided by the committee, which would embrace strings for musical instruments of catgut.

Hoping you will pardon the liberty which I have taken and kindly give this matter your attention, I am, Yours, very respectfully,



Phonographs, gramophones, graphophones, and similar articles, or parts

thereof, forty-five per centum ad valorem. PARAGRAPH 469.

Violin rosin, in boxes or cases or otherwise, twenty per centum ad valorem. PARAGRAPH 470.

Paintings in oil or water colors, pastels, pen and ink drawings, and sculptures, not specially provided for in this section, fifteen per centum ad valorem; but the term “sculptures” as used in this Act shall be understood to include only such as are cut, carved, or otherwise wrought by hand from a solid block or mass of marble, stone, or alabaster, or from metal, and as are the professional production of a sculptor only, and the term “painting'' as used in this Act shall be understood not to include such as are made wholly or in part by stenciling or other mechanical process.



The witness was duly sworn by the chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. You may proceed, Mr. Quinn.

Mr. Quinn. Mr. Chairman and gentlemen of the committee, I appear before you on behalf of the Association of American Painters and Sculptors, a New York association, which is devoted to the practice, cultivation, and encouragement of contemporary art. That association, and I think I may safely say American artists generally, ask that the present duty of 15 per cent upon all art not 20 years old be unqualifiedly and unconditionally removed.

I will not take up the time of the committee at any great length in giving the history of the various provisions of the eight or nine tariff acts that have dealt or not dealt with the subject of duty on art. I intend to submit a brief, with the permission of the committee, in which the dates of the acts and the duties imposed and the amounts realized, as well as the tariff acts where there were no duties, and the amount of art imported and the duty on art less than 20 years old under the act of 1909 will be set forth.

I will come right down to the act of 1909. A very great effort was made at that time to have the Congress of this country make all art

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PARAGRAPH 470—PAINTINGS, ETC. free. Art associations, free-art leagues, painters, and sculptors, presidents of colleges, chambers of commerce, and other public bodies addressed or wrote to the then committee of the House in favor of free art. A few artists and art dealers asked that the duty be retained, and others asked that there be imposed a specific duty of $100 on all paintings, irrespective of their value or age.

The result of the law of 1909 making art over 20 years old free is that the importation of old works of art has risen enormously. A glance at the figures will show that. For example, in 1908 the value of all art imported was $3,911,125, and it yielded a duty of approximately $700,000.

In 1909 the value of all art imported was $3,239,168, and yielded a duty of approximately $600,000.

In 1910, after the duty on art over 20 years old had been removed the value of the imports increased to $18,634,131, from which, under the present law, the Government derived no revenue.

In 1911 it increased to $20,264,115, from which again the Government derived no revenue; and up to June 30, 1912, the figures that are available to me give the value of imports of old art as $5,259, 761, from which the Government derived nothing.

I claim that the taxation of art, whether ancient, modern, or contemporary, is wrong. We are the only, or practically the only, civilized country in the world that places a tax on art. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves for doing so; other countries foster art; they subsidize art schools and art academies; they give prizes out of the national funds for the encouragement of art, and they buy the works of contemporary artists, even of American artists, out of their public funds; and perhaps every member of this committee has seen in the Luxembourg the works of Americans and been glad to see them there-works by Mr. Sargent and by Whistler and by other American painters and sculptors.

I have in my brief carefully and, I think, fairly summarized the testimony before the Ways and Means Committee of the Congress of 1909 on both sides of that proposition. I do not know that this committee will want to take the time to read that old testimony and the briefs then submitted, but I have summarized it in my brief to save you that trouble, and have there given, I think, accurately and fairly the arguments pro and con.

I think it is a fair statement to say that all the arguments, both the arguments themselves and the authoritative or critical standing of those presenting them, were overwhelmingly in favor of unconditionally free art. In my brief I have referred to the pages of the seventh volume of the hearings on the tariff act of 1909, in which the arguments in favor of a specific duty of $100 on all works of art, irrespective of their age, and also in favor of sweeping aside all the duty, are contained.

The Congress of that year compromised or, I may say, straddled on the question, with rather queer results-queer results both as to revenue and as to art. The duty before 1909 was 20 per cent, and in some cases 15 per cent, where there were reciprocity treaties with certain countries. They did not adopt the suggestion of certain artists, and of the man who said that artists were tradesmen, of a

PARAGRAPH 470_PAINTINGS, ETC. specific duty of $100 on all works of art irrespective of their value and their age, but they put a 15 per cent duty on all works of art less than 20 years of age, with certain exceptions as to art intended for museums, galleries, etc.

Under our present law, instead of making all art free, instead of buying, as a Government, the works of contemporary artists, we put a tax on the importation into this country of contemporary art. That is an anachronism and an absurdity. The revenue that we get under the present law is not so great that this country should continue in that position. According to the figures, which I will submit to the committee, the value of art imports less than 20 years old, for the year 1910, was $1,701,193 and yielded a duty of $255,178.95. The value for the year 1911 was $1,591,167 and yielded a duty, at the present rate of 15 per cent, of $238,675. So far as I have been able to get the figures, the duty up to June 30, 1912, was the sum of $52,179.16 on works valued at $347,861.

A great many people say, and the argument was made before the committee of the House in 1909, that art is a luxury and not a necessity. There are many arguments against that proposition. In the first place, it is not a Democratic proposition. The Democratic Party on art has had rather a good record. The Democratic Party has been in favor of free art as a party and historically. I may call the attention of the committee very briefly to that fact.

The act of 1832 was a protectionist measure, and yet it placed art on the free list. The act of 1846 was passed by the Democratic Party as a free-trade measure, and one of the principles of Mr. Walker, who was then Secretary of the Treasury, was that luxuries should be taxed the maximum; but that act put art on the free list.

In the act of 1857 art was kept on the free list, and the Democratic Wilson bill of 1894 also put art on the free list.

I am therefore asking this committee to put art on the free list and to put this country abreast of all other civilized countries-I will not say progressive countries; I say merely civilized countries.

A whole volume could be written on the various phases and aspects of the proposition that art is a necessity and not a luxury. I do not want to use a vulgarism, but I think I could prove that art in the end would pay for itself as a necessity. The French people, as s people, sell millions of dollars' worth of things to the rest of the world, mainly because the artistic instinct and spirit has been fostered in them generation after generation. Where people have an artistic instinct and sense their products are certain to be finer and better and to be bought by other nations. That is not limited merely to pictures that one sees on the walls of museums or to pieces of sculpture that one sees in museums and galleries. It goes into almost everything that is worth having in life; it goes into everything where form, design, color, molding, modeling, or decoration may possibly enter.

If we want to compete with the rest of the world in the finer grades of products, and if we want to raise the standard of our export products so that we can compete with the works of Germany and France, where art is fostered and not taxed, it will be only good business for us to encourage, at least to the extent of removing the PARAGRAPH 470_PAINTINGS, ETC. duty on contemporary art, the practice, study, and knowledge of contemporary art.

Mr. HARRISON. If I do not interrupt you
Mr. QUINN (interposing). You do not, Mr. Harrison.

Mr. HARRISON. I would like to ask whether there are any difficulties in the administration of the law dealing with art? 'In the first place, what is art?

Mr. Quinn. Books have been written on that single question and that difficulty is inherent in the present law and will be inherent in any law; but I think this committee can define the law so there will be no border line or any great dispute.

Mr. HARRISON. If you will pardon the further interruption, a few years ago, out in the Plaza in front of the Capitol, there was an alleged statue of the Father of His Country, which a paternal Government removed overnight and it disappeared. No doubt in his day that was art, but to-day that properly would be classified as "manufactures of stone not otherwise provided for."

Mr. QUINN. I think probably it would, and perhaps it was “otherwise provided for” after it was removed.

But the law, as at present it stands, covers paintings or sculpture as work made or produced by artists or professional sculptors, and that is as near as we can come to it.

Mr. Hill. What about wood carving?

Mr. QUINN. I am not interested in that, because that is nearer a mechanical process and has not developed to such a degree that we ask the duty removed, I think. I am speaking of art where the work of a man's hands or his eye enters. As to the definition of art in the law, you can not come any nearer to it than that. I might think a picture was a work of art, and some one else might think it a daub; but if made by a professional artist and I want to buy it, it ought to come in free.

You can not come any nearer to it than that. The Government would make itself ridiculous if it attempted to define what is and what is not art; and any official would likewise make himself ridiculous if he attempted to define what is and what is not art.

Somebody has said that morality is a question of geography. I do not say that is true, nor do I say that art is a question of geography; but it is a question of time, and place, and taste, and disposition, and training, and environment, and ideals, and differs in different places at different times. The ideals of one age may not be the ideals of another. It is rather a commonplace that ideals change and die and perish every day, and new ones come in vogue. The reformer of one day is the conservative of another, and the progressive in art of one generation is the reactionary in another, the same as in politics; so I do not think the Government should attempt in the act itself to define what is or is not art.

I will come, Mr. Harrison, in a moment to a section I have drawn, toward the end of my brief, and explain that more fully.

There are really no arguments in favor of the retention of this duty, except that the Government of the United States wants to keep out all contemporary art for the purpose of getting in a possible $200,000 or $250,000 a year. I have not estimated the expense of collecting that amount, but that expense should be deducted from that figure.

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PARAGRAPH 470—PAINTINGS, ETC. No artists, of any account at any rate, are asking for this protection. They do not need it. They do not want it. American art does not need protection from foreign art. If it does need it, if it is so weak it needs it, then it is not worthy of protection. If it can stand on its own merits, then it does not need any protection. It should not be protected from what is bad, on the one hand, which was one of the chief arguments in 1909. It does not need to be protected from what is bad, and it should not ask protection from what is good. One can not get away from these propositions.

The CHAIRMAN. If it will not interrupt you, Mr. Quinn, 4 years ago we put art over 20 years old on the free list. That class of pictures, for instance, is largely a very high-priced class that can only be bought by the very, very rich men?

Mr. QUINN. Yes, sir.

The CHAIRMAN. In other words, we gave rich men their class of art free, and to the poor man or the man of moderate means we declined to give it free.

Mr. Quinn. You have hit the nail on the head, Mr. Chairman. This committee should bring within the means and within the power of the man of moderate means-yes, even of the poor man—to acquire works of contemporary art before they become 20 years of age and appreciate in value and then fall into the hands of dealers and then become merely the hobby or exclusive possession of the rich.

If the committee will pardon me for being personal, I buy modern pictures myself, and I have paid a good many thousands of dollars in duty, and I always felt it was an outrageous thing that it should be so. I do not belong to the class of rich men who can indulge in Rembrandts, or Velasquezs, or Frans Hals, and other old masters, some of them good and some of them bad, and perhaps many of them forged. I want to buy the art of my own time. I prefer to be a man of my own time.

I think I speak for a great many other men of moderate means who want to buy the art of their own time, art that is within their moderate means; so I am pleading not only for this society but for myself and for all like me who want to be men of their own age. I do not care merely to buy the ideals or work of artists of 100 or 200 years ago. I leave that pursuit to the rich man. I prefer the more exciting and interesting and enjoyable one, personally to me, of acquiring the living art of my own time.

Coming down to the practical question, if this committee shall decide to place art on the free list and have this country, therefore, take a stand as regards art with other civilized countries, how shall it be adopted and how shall it be accomplished? I will take the liberty of presenting to you, at the end of my brief, a paragraph which I will take out of the present Schedule N, that section imposing a duty upon works of art less than 20 years old, and put a comprehensive paragraph into the free list. I have also gone through the other sections dealing with etchings, statuary, etc., and have grouped them all in one section and followed that with suggestions as to amendments to other provisions of the present act.

There is just one point that has not been dealt with, I think, in any act, and that was not dealt with at the time of the hearings in 1909.

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