Art Loss Register

Art Loss Register

= Summary =

The Art Loss Register (ALR) is the world’s largest private international database of lost and stolen art, antiques and collectibles that provides recovery and search services to private individuals, collectors, the art trade, insurers and law enforcement through technology and a professionally trained staff of art historians. The ALR was formed in 1991 through a partnership between leading auction houses and art trade associations, the insurance industry and the International Foundation of Art Research. The ALR has been involved in the recovery of over 1,000 works of art worth with an estimated value of £100,000,000. With over 180,000 items on its database of lost and stolen art and antiques, it undertakes over 300,000 searches a year. The ALR is recognised as an integral part of art recovery and assists museums and the art trade undertake due diligence. The ALR is more than just a database as its expertise in the field of art crime, inventory management and title negotiations denote.

Although created out of a database belonging to the nonprofit International Foundation for Art Research, the ALR is a for-profit company owned in part by Christie's, Bonhams, members of the insurance industry and various art trade associations. [cite web |source=Building Conservation|url= |title=The Art Loss Register, Ltd.|accessdate=2008-09-16]

The ALR’s Looted Art Project

According to widely accepted estimates, of the more than 600,000 art objects stolen by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, approximately 100,000 were destroyed or are still missing. With a proven track record of maintaining a register and having already traced stolen art worth millions of pounds, in 1998 the ALR allocated specialist staff and resources to expand the register with claims relating to the spoliation of art objects, and particularly those stolen from Nazi victims. The ALR did not originally charge claimants for the recovery of Holocaust and World World II-era stolen art, and many individuals registered their lost artwork when ALR was handling such claims on a pro-bono basis.cite news|publisher=Claremont Independent|date=2008-03-12|accessdate=2008-09-16|url=|title=CMC Professor involved in art restitution controversy|first=Elise|last=Viebeck]

Dispersal of art and antiques occurred for many reasons, and claims on the ALR have stemmed from confiscations by Nazi looted agencies, or as objects were sold under duress in the 1930s in order to raise funds for emigration or taxes. Many other objects were lost as Jewish homes were sealed or as art businesses were ‘aryanised’. Items have been reported from claimants worldwide. The ALR can assist claimants with finding paperwork to document a wartime theft so that the art objects can be added to the ALR database. Alternatively, research can be undertaken to complete an item’s ownership history once a claimed item has been located. ALR staff are also able to offer research to museum curators, art dealers and collectors to determine whether an item is the subject of wartime spoliation.

The ALR employed US historian Jonathan Petropoulos because of his relationship to Bruno Lohse (1911-2007), a notorious Nazi art looter whom the ALR believed was connected to a Pissarro painting looted by the Gestapo in 1938.cite news|publisher=Jewish Chronicle|date=2008-03-17|accessdate=2008-09-16|url=|title=Fee row over found Pissarro|first=Rachel|last=Fletcher] The Pissarro painting, which had been registered with ALR by its rightful heir in 2001 (when the company was working such cases on a 'pro-bono' basis), was discovered by Swiss investigators in May 2007 in a secret safe controlled by Lohse in Zurich, Switzerland.cite news|first=Stefan|last=Koldehoff|title=Pissarro Lost and Found|url=|publisher=ARTnews|date=Summer 2007|accessdate=2008-09-16] The ALR had hoped to collect a fee upon the successful restitution of the painting.

News stories covering ALR recoveries and investigations

£20m art theft riddle solved in court

The art of stealing (UK Independent)

Art, Restored (Forbes)

CMC Professor Involved in Art Restitution Controversy (Claremont Independent)

Computer archive used to find stolen art (USA Today)

A Warhol Surfaces and Is Headed for Court (New York Times)

Fee row over found Pissarro (Jewish Chronicle)

If you only steal one masterpiece this year... (UK Guardian),,2255983,00.html

Professor ensnared in case of Pissarro looted by Nazis (Los Angeles Times),1,3702615,full.story

Stolen art is recovered from the US (UK Hastings Observer)

Carving found after eight years (BBC)

External links

* [ Art Loss Register]


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