Recovering stolen art - legal understandings in the Australian art market

Kenyon, A.T. and Mackenzie, S. (2003) Recovering stolen art - legal understandings in the Australian art market. University of Tasmania Law Review, 21(2), pp. 1-22.

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This article continues a project investigating the law applying to the civil recovery of stolen artworks, and the legal understanding of Australian art market actors such as commercial galleries and auction houses. Part one summarises our earlier research on art recovery and the reforms it suggested for the Australian law on limitation periods. We then examine, in part two, methodological questions related to the interviews underlying this article and explain its exploratory scope. Part three addresses some relevant aspects of the international context that develop from our earlier work, and part four reports on the legal understandings and practices of some Australian art market actors. The limited fieldwork described in this article suggests three conclusions. First, there appears to be little art market knowledge of the legal position about recovering stolen art. Second, there appears to be substantial art market support for a publicly available database or register of artworks that have been stolen previously in Australia. However, there is very little knowledge of the existing international listing services for art thefts. Third, current art market practices create difficulties when trying to investigate the legal title of art vendors, and buyers appear to face significant hurdles in meeting English or United States standards of good faith and due diligence. These practices, however, would not prevent the use of theft listing services. All this supports our earlier reform suggestions, and suggests current art market practices could well accommodate the development of listing services to encourage due diligence.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Interviews, Research, State, Stolen Art, Australia, Australian Art Market, Limitation Periods, Art Theft, England, United States, Good Faith, Due Diligence, Theft, United States, Work
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mackenzie, Professor Simon
Authors: Kenyon, A.T., and Mackenzie, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:University of Tasmania Law Review

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