An examination of the illegal art market in Australia

Criminology Research Council grant ; (8/98-9)

The report represents a first exploration of the place of illegality in the art market of Australia. It draws upon qualitative data, including interviews and field observations involving over 300 respondents (dealers, museum personnel, police, insurance representatives and others) to examine the general size and dimensions of theft and fraud in the art world. The report observes that both theft and fakery are persistent problems in the art market of Australia. The nature of the market tends to restrict somewhat the level of art theft, but issues of fakes and frauds tend to present major problems for those involved in the art trade. The Aboriginal art market poses its own particular issues, especially since there tends to be persistent issues of authorship and authenticity raised. A number of issues regarding prevention, including the importance of developing an art-theft register for Australia, are being considered.