Speculation regarding the authenticity of Aboriginal artworks being offered for sale by Arthouse Auctions has been a point of discussion within the industry for at least a year, and throughout Arthouse Auctions has maintained that its works are legitimate.

Now the situation seems to have escalated after industry association, Art Trade, formally requested Arthouse Auctions withdraw 17 lots from its current catalogue in order to avoid, “consequences that might arise due to misattribution“.

Arthouse Auctions then cancelled its Indigenous Art Code (IartC) membership on the basis of, “continuous vexatious complaints and now threats“.

But Chairman of the IartC, Richard England, who read the Art Trade letter, believes that the request should have been viewed as constructive. “We don’t want to have artworks up for auction that may be subject to some doubt in relation to attribution,” he said.

The artworks concerned are attributed to artists George Ward Tjungurrayi, Shorty Robertson Jangala, Judy Watson Napangardi, Ningura Napurrula, Maringka Baker, Gloria Petyarre and Kathleen Petyarre.

Arthouse Auctions is yet to take down the Indigenous Art Code logo displaying on its site.