In the Dark, All Art Dealers Are Grey: Discretion and Rationalisation in the Munch Art Market


In high demand among collectors worldwide, the art of expressionist painter Edvard Munch has been the object of numerous criminal incidents. This article examines to what extent these crimes have had any regulatory effect on contemporary trade in Munch’s work and what precautionary measures Norwegian dealers take to prevent illicit art from entering the market. Consistent with a grey market paradigm, interviews with art dealers indicate that the trade in Munch has become tainted with risk due to the presence of many unprovenanced works in the market, yet most art dealers have narrow, preconceived ideas of the ‘typical’ art crime offender. Interested parties would not expect questions of provenance to be answered, so they do not ask, and social relationships are used to excuse a lack of due diligence, conveniently allowing the industry to thrive.


Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content in this journal is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Published: 2021-06-01
Pages:1 to 14
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How to Cite
Runhovde, S. R. (2021) “In the Dark, All Art Dealers Are Grey: Discretion and Rationalisation in the Munch Art Market”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy, 10(2), pp. 1-14. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.1619.

Author Biography

Norwegian Police University College

Dr Siv Rebekka Runhovde is a researcher in the Department of Research at the Norwegian Police University College in Oslo. Siv holds a PhD in Criminology from the University of Oslo. Her research areas besides the theft and trafficking of art and antiquities include the policing of transnational organised wildlife crime and crime prevention.