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Sotheby's Institute of Art

Art Crime

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This innovative course examines the unique topic of art-related crime in its various forms and its implications for the international art market. As a multi-billion-pound industry, criminal activity relating to art might assume a wide range of forms through the deception achieved with the creation of fakes and forgeries, the crimes of theft and the subtler networks engaged in looting antiquities and money laundering. As a threat to our collective cultural identity, the subject of art crime demands a concerted investigation to understand its preconditions, processes and consequences, and the varied challenges it presents to our cultural and commercial institutions. The course provides participants with a wide range of perspectives from which to interrogate the nature of art crime as an evolving international phenomenon.

This programme examines the broader context of art crime by identifying and defining the range of illegal activities that have an impact upon the international art world. It considers the range of approaches for both confronting and responding to art crime, and the challenges and opportunities that emerge in response to these processes.

Sample Topics And Suggested Reading

Sample Topics:

  • Art Crime within the International Art Market
  • Art Theft
  • Deception within the Art Market: Fakes, Forgeries
  • Authenticity and the Object
  • Looting, Plunder and the Destruction of Cultural Heritage
  • Archaeology and the market for Antiquities
  • Restitution and Cultural Repatriation
  • Legal Perspectives
  • Technology and Emerging Approaches
  • The Due Diligence Process

Study Visits

Visits may include:

  • John Soane Museum
  • The British Museum
  • Tate Britain
  • Tate Modern
  • The National Gallery
  • The British Library
  • Imperial War Museum
  • Sotheby’s Auction House


MA, Sotheby's Institute of Art, London; BFA and BA, University of Canterbury, New Zealand Gareth is a Lecturer in Art Business at Sotheby’s Institute of Art. He is Co-Unit Leader of the Art Business, Foundations and Placement semester course, leader of the Art Crime summer study course and Co-Le...
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