Christie's Refute Accusations

September 1 2020

Image of Christie's Refute Accusations

Picture: Christie's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

The Telegraph have published an article relating to Christie's public rebuttal of what it calls false accusations from academics and protest movements as to the provenances of cultural artefacts passing through their hands.

The row began over accusations on social media in regards to the sale of a fifteenth century manuscript of the Qur'an which realised £7,016,250 (inc. fees) at auction earlier this June. Despite the work having a secure provenance back to the 1980s, the auction house has been accused of a lack of transparency.

In a statement the auction house said:

We are mindful that there are nuanced and complex debates around cultural property and wish to listen and engage appropriately. However, we are also concerned that there has been a rise in unfounded accusations, spread far and fast on social media, that question the legitimate and legal exchange of these objects and collecting areas.

As a marketplace we should all be concerned and ensure that the debate is balanced.


As previous court cases have highlighted, providing evidence seems to be key here. Auction houses undergo a strict measure of checks as part of their legally required 'due diligence' to ensure no known stolen property passes through their hands. However, as every picture researcher will know all too well from practical experience, finding evidence for provenance can be a very fruitless and time consuming process.

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