The Art Loss Register is the last resort for art lovers of the world when normal law enforcement systems fail. Set up in 1990, this revolutionary database lists all pieces of art reported missing, lost or stolen, including sculptures, watches, photographs and, of course, paintings. It not only allows you to report your own missing art, but to check that any pieces you are thinking of buying are not missing or stolen. Most auction houses will check their items against the register as a matter of course these days, but be sure to inquire.
Stolen Art and the Black Market
We all know that certain pieces of stolen art could fetch a pretty sum on the black market, and this is why it’s such a necessity to protect any valuable pieces you may have at home. The likes of Olyvia Kwok can advise you on the best purchases and decisions. This has, however, actually become a bigger concern in recent times despite the advances in technology and transparency. This is because so many of the world’s rich and famous are turning to “investments of passion” such as art, jewellery and collectibles in order to keep their money safe. The sale of Edvard Munch’s Scream, which took $120 million, shows just how lucrative this market has become. The problem is, of course, that criminals follow the money, and right now the money is in such goods. The thing about stolen paintings is that it’s all profit for the successful criminal. Of course as the technology used to combat such crime gets more and more sophisticated it is getting more and more certain that stolen or lost items will resurface. This can take many, many years (decades, in fact), but, especially in the case of high value items, there are many bodies that you can turn to for help. The FBI even has an art crimes department!
What An Art Recovery Group Can Do
If you find yourself in the regrettable position of having a valuable piece of art stolen from you then the first thing to do, obviously, is report it to the appropriate authority. They will, of course, look for the culprits and your stolen art, but they may not be able to do so. This is where a good art recovery group comes in! They can, for a start, make better use of the art loss register than the uninitiated user might be able to. The real value of a good recovery company, however lies in all the other services they offer. They can research the legal title, provenance and authenticity of any artwork that you decide to buy, they can provide advice on potential claims, and they can even liaison with law enforcement for you. The most important thing that such organisations do is show and encourage due diligence, especially within auction houses, and by doing so they reduce the risk of buying art that is stolen or registered as missing. Since the register, and such companies, came into existence, there has been a huge improvement in the transparency found within the art dealerships and auction houses of the world.
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