Blog post

Art fraud: learning to spot the fakes

Business Management student Jonathan Storer immersed himself in the world of art fraud and money laundering during his final-year Derby Business School fieldtrip to Copenhagen.

By Jonathan Storer - 10 May 2019

New perspective

In February, I left the University for a five-day fieldtrip to one of Europe’s most famously picturesque cities, Copenhagen. I was part of a group of students from a range of subject disciplines in Derby Business School. The purpose of the trip was to understand a new perspective of the business world – how money laundering and art fraud is having a dramatic impact upon the world of business and financial fraud. But, of course, we made sure that there was time to embrace the surroundings around us.

We began the week with an introduction to art fraud and how businesses and individuals across the world use this in fraudulent financial activities. This gave us the basic knowledge on which the rest of the week’s activities would build.

In the afternoon, we headed to the famous Carlsberg Glyptotek art museum. We spent the afternoon exploring the variety of art work, with some great insight into the pieces from our lecturer Oliver Charles.

Key techniques

On our second day, a team of experts at the Danish National Museum of Art (or SMK – Statens Museum for Kunst) introduced us to the techniques they use to determine whether a piece of art is a fake or genuine.

Afterwards, we explored the impressive collection of art from across the world that the museum holds. We followed this with accounting lectures at Copenhagen’s Niels Brock University. Here, we learned more about the details and reasons behind why art fraud is so significant within financial crime, despite often being overlooked.

Over the rest of the week, we had hands-on sessions with fakes and forgeries to test our new-found expertise. Our challenge was to see if we could determine which objects in front of us were genuine and which were not.

Picasso, Pollock and Moore!

Despite all this, it was one of our final trips which topped off an already great week – an afternoon at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humblebaek. We explored its incredible scenery and collection, which includes pieces by Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Henry Moore!

Despite a busy week, we were able to explore all that Copenhagen had to offer from Tivoli Gardens, to the Little Mermaid, The Royal Palace, the Round Tower and Church of our Saviour which definitely give the best views of the city and, of course, we had to experience the real Danish cakes! We certainly experienced Copenhagen how it is meant to be and made the most of our time in this beautiful city.

The week was a great opportunity to get outside of the classroom and learn more about a new area of business first hand, which we otherwise would not have had the opportunity to do. The week was busy but really opened my eyes to a side of my degree I had not explored before.

About the author

Jonathan Storer
BA (Hons) Business Management student

I am a final year Business Management student at the University of Derby.