Art Loss Register

How does the Art Loss Register work?
The Art Loss Register maintains a database that includes 500,000 items registered as lost, stolen or subject to a dispute. We were established in 1990 as a partnership between the art trade and insurance industry to protect the trade and its clients from inadvertently handling stolen property. We receive reports of losses every day from law enforcement, insurers, museums, the trade and collectors worldwide. We then compare objects on the market against the database to protect the art trade and its clients from handling stolen goods.

What type of items are registered on the database?
The ALR can register any types of lost or disputed items, so long as they are unique – from the more obvious paintings, furniture and antiquities, as well as silver, clocks, medals and coins, instruments, collectibles, jewellery and watches – to name a few.

What happens if the ALR discovers a lost or disputed item?
If an object is matched to one registered on the ALR database, we put the current holder in touch with the person or institution that notified us of the claim. The issue can thereby be resolved directly by the police or a civil claim, or by negotiation between the two (or more) parties. We work on these cases every day worldwide, often assisting with negotiations or mediation, or acting on behalf of the claimant to verify and pursue a claim.

How does the ALR work at PAN Amsterdam?
The ALR is included in the vetting at PAN Amsterdam, where we search exhibited objects at the fair. PAN Amsterdam is one of 15 fairs around the world that subscribe to this service, also including the three TEFAF and three Art Basel fairs. At the fair, the ALR compares each object on the fair stand against the database, and check to see if it is similar to any recorded on the database as lost, stolen or subject to a dispute. If an object is matched to one on the database, it is removed from sale until the issue is resolved. We are available to PAN exhibitors and visitors to carry out these checks at the fair, and to provide ALR Certificates as evidence of this ‘due diligence’. The Certificate is provided once the ALR’s has conducted some extra provenance research, to see if there might be any issues in the history of the item. This is particularly relevant in identifying items that may have been misappropriated in the period 1933-45, such as those confiscated from Jewish families or subject to forced sales.

If you have any questions regarding the Art Loss Register, or how we work at PAN Amsterdam, visit our booth P4 at the fair or go to our website www.artloss.com.