Art Crime


Explores the growing trend of art crime through a focus on five primary areas: theft, fraud, smuggling, forgery, and vandalism. These will be examined within the context of international and New Zealand case studies, including the theft of the Mona Lisa in 1911, Nazi looting in World War II, and thefts during the Iraq War in 2003. Ways to curb such crime, particularly the development of art crime squads, will also be discussed.

For full course information see the Digital Course Outline for ARTHIST 230

Digital Course Outlines are refreshed in November for the following year. Digital Course Outlines for courses to be offered for the first time may be published slightly later.

Availability 2024

Not taught in 2024


Coordinator(s) Associate Professor Ngarino Ellis

Recommended Reading

Bazley, Tom, Crimes of the Art World. New York: Praeger, 2010.

Chappell, Duncan and Saskia Hufnagel, eds., Contemporary Perspectives on the Detection, Investigation and Prosecution of Art Crime. Farnam, Surrey: Ashgate, 2014.

Jackson, Penelope, Art Thieves, Fakers and Fraudsters. The New Zealand Story. Wellington: Awa Press, 2016.

Manacorda, Stefano and Duncan Chappell, eds., Crime in the Art and Antiquities World: Illegal Trafficking in Cultural Property. New York: Springer, 2011.

Nicholas, Lynn, The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War. New York: Vintage Books, 1995.

Tompkins, Arthur, Plundering Beauty. A History of Art Crime During War. London: Lund, 2018.


Coursework and exam


ARTHIST 230: 15 points


15 points at Stage I in Art History and 30 points passed