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It was a cause célèbre: the biggest case of alleged art fraud to come before the Australian criminal justice system, a $4.5 million sting drawing in one of the country's most gifted and ultimately tragic artists, Brett Whiteley, a heroin addict who died alone in 1992.

It started with suspicions raised about artworks being produced in the style of Whiteley in a Melbourne art restorer's studio. Secret photographs were taken as the paintings took form.

A jury finds two men guilty of faking Whiteleys, but a year later the appeal bench sensationally acquits them. The paintings are returned to their owners, leaving the legitimacy of the artworks in limbo.

Whiteley on Trial investigates this remarkable case and exposes the avarice of the art world, the disdain for connoisseurship and the fragility of authenticity.


The shady world of art dealing is fully exposed in this brilliant piece of writing that will interest true-crime enthusiasts, Brett Whiteley fans and anyone interested in the legal process. Wendy Whiteley’s cameo appearance adds glamour to the story.


Coslovich cleverly weaves elements of the story together until it reads like a mystery novel.

Jeff Maynard, Herald Sun

Her sharp, incisive analysis and her clarity of style takes the reader on a journey that is a courtroom thriller as well as an examination of a legal system that can seem impatient.

Patricia Anderson, Weekend Australian

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    October 2, 2017

    Melbourne University Press

    272 pages

    RRP $32.99

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  • EBook


    October 2, 2017

    Melbourne University Press Digital

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