How quickly is the online art market growing? The total global art market was valued at USD $45 billion in 2016. Online sales for that same year amounted to USD $5 billion, or roughly 11 per cent of the market. That number represents about a 40 per cent increase in online sales since 2015. But one other online business is increasing at an even faster rate: that of online art fraud.
A 2015 study conducted by Art Fraud Insights (AFI) determined that 30 per cent of the 60,000 art listings on eBay over a ten-month period were demonstrably fraudulent, and nearly 60 per cent needed additional information to determine authenticity. In response to this study, AFI partnered with the firm Strategic IP Information (SIPI) to develop an online fraud-monitoring platform called Art and Artistic Legacy Protection (AALP).
AFI and SIPI developed the acronym MAIT to describe how AALP works: Monitor online art marketplaces; Analyse relevant data; Investigate cases of fraud; Take down offenders. As the online art market is projected to continue growing at an average of 24 per cent per year, AALP could be the saving grace for all artists, artist foundations and legitimate buyers and sellers, if proven effective.
Image caption: Colette Loll, Founder and director of Art Fraud Insights. Photograped by Johannes Worsøe Berg © 2016. Courtesy Art Fund Insights.