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.
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