8356 - Art Loss Register announces work with 100 auction houses


Last year the ALR helped in the recovery of this 18th century Aubusson tapestry which is of great national importance. The item was stolen in France in 1982 and identified at auction in 2015 by the Art Loss Register. The piece measures 4.3m by 2m, and it is estimated at £7,000-£9,000. After more than three decades it is now returned to its original home and hangs in a château in Normandy.

The Art Loss Register announced that, they are working with 100 auction houses across the world who make use of their due diligence services.

This represents an increase of 50% in the number of auction houses checking their catalogues with the Art Loss Register in the last three years, reflecting the growing importance for art market professionals to carry out checks and due diligence.

The Art Loss Register’s scope is worldwide, with subscribers based in the UK, USA, France, Norway, Austria and Holland, and with growing numbers from Germany, Switzerland and Italy. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of smaller and regional auction house subscribers. The Art Loss Register checks 400,000 items offered on the international art market each year, the majority of which are in auction catalogues.

The key benefit for auction houses of searching items with the Art Loss Register is that it significantly reduces the risk of selling items that are stolen or subject to a claim, and the reputational and financial risks associated with this.

For the victims of theft and insurers, the increase in the number of auction houses working with the Art Loss Register means that their chances of recovery are significantly improving.

Last year alone, the Art Loss Register located stolen items ranging from artworks by Matisse, Picasso, Warhol, Keith Haring and Anish Kapoor, to Rolex watches, tribal art, English furniture and Roman antiquities in the sale catalogues of auction houses.

James Ratcliffe, General Counsel and Director of Recoveries at the Art Loss Register said, “It is fantastic to see the huge increase in subscribing auction houses over the last three years. This is testament both to the hard work and skills of the whole team here at the ALR; and also the increasing recognition across the market of the need to carry out a recognised standard of due diligence on transactions. As a result, it is becoming more and more difficult for thieves to profit from the theft of art.”

The Art Loss Register, established in 1990 and based in London, is the world’s largest private database of stolen, missing and looted art, antiques and collectibles. The Art Loss Register also holds records of fakes and forgeries, items which are subject to a dispute, and items against which a loan has been secured. The Art Loss Register also offers a pre-loss registration service for museums and large permanent collections.

There are currently half a million items listed on the database. The range of items is considerable and includes paintings, sculptures, antiquities, watches, clocks, jewellery, musical instruments, furniture, books and coins.