The Art Loss Register (ALR) holds the world’s largest private database of lost, stolen and looted art, antiques and collectibles, currently listing more than 700,000 items. Items are added to this database on behalf of the victims of looting or theft, insurers, police forces and others. Our database is then utilised to offer a due diligence service to clients in the art market who wish to ensure that they are working with items to which no claim will arise. This provides an invaluable risk management tool to our searching clients. Through searching it is also possible to identify stolen items and other claimed works as they move through the art market and to secure their recovery for the claimant.
All of our services are offered free of charge to law enforcement agencies and nation states.
The Art Loss Register (ALR) was established in London in 1990. Our founding shareholders included major businesses from the insurance industry and art market. Satellite offices were subsequently opened in New York, Cologne, Amsterdam and Paris to cater to growing client bases in these countries. In January 2010, we consolidated the regional offices in to one central, international office, run from London.
The ALR’s origin was The International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR), a not-for-profit organisation based in New York. In an attempt to deter international art theft, IFAR established an art theft archive in 1976 and began publishing the “Stolen Art Alert”.
What we do
We offer three main areas of services:
- Search – Check objects with the ALR database to demonstrate due diligence, to prevent the handling of stolen art and to find out more about an object’s history through our in-house Provenance Research team.
- Register – Report the theft or loss of an artwork or valuable item to the ALR database for registration on the database.
- Recover – We help lost items of art to be reunited with their owners through the ALR database and our specialist Recoveries team.
You can find out more about each of these services on their respective pages, and other areas of the ALR below.
We carry out more than 400,000 checks on items on the market each year. This is on behalf of subscribing auction houses and art fairs, as well as law enforcement, museums, dealers, banks, lenders, lawyers, art advisors, pawnbrokers and private collectors.
We work closely with police worldwide to register stolen items and inform them when those objects are located.
We are frequently consulted by governmental and intergovernmental organisations regarding policy and laws related to cultural property. Recent examples include EU Cultural Property Import Regulations, Nicosia Convention on Deliberate Destruction of Heritage and the UK’s Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act. We have also been invited to address the Legal Committee of the European Parliament on the topic of Cross Border Restitution and UNODC conferences on stolen and looted cultural property.
We also work represented and acted on behalf of nation states in recovering and repatriating cultural property. Examples of repatriations undertaken by the ALR alongside international law enforcement include Italy, Bolivia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria and India – to name a few.
Our work on behalf of law enforcement and in representing nation states is free of charge.
For more than 30 years, our team has been the world-leading private resource in recovering stolen art, antiques and collectibles. We locate about 300 objects each year, and are working on more than 150 cases at any one time. Alongside assisting law enforcement and private clients in the recovery of stolen art, we also offer dispute resolution and mediation services in art-related claims.
Many of the cases on which we work are Nazi restitution cases, where our Recovery and Provenance Research teams are able to assist claimants for Nazi looted artworks, as well as those subject to forced sales or other losses in the period 1933-45. For further information about this aspect of our work, do get in touch with us directly.
An ever-increasing part of our work is in the field of the repatriation of cultural property – particularly objects designated by the market as ‘antiquities’, ‘tribal art’ and ‘ethnographic art’. To assist law enforcement and nation states in the recovery of stolen and looted cultural property, our services to register objects reported as stolen on our database and to recover objects already located are offered free-of-charge.
Alongside the registration of objects reported as stolen or missing, we have also launched the Cultural Heritage At Risk Database (CHARD) to register objects in situ at museums, warehouses and archaeological sites, to ensure that if such items are stolen they can be identified if offered for sale. This service is offered to complement the hard work of the museum professionals and archaeologists who painstakingly record these objects in the first place, as well as those who risk their lives every day to protect them. The project hopes to assist in the protection of these objects in perpetuity by informing registrant governments, ministries, museums or archaeologists – as well as any relevant law enforcement agencies – should those objects appear on the market.
Find out more about CHARD, or get in touch directly for more information about our work in this area.
Alongside the registration of stolen and lost items, we also register objects within collections to ensure that the owner is notified whenever the object is offered for sale or a loan. We call this ‘Positive Registration’, and it is offered particularly to large public, private and corporate collections – especially those based in multiple locations or where objects are often consigned.
In addition, artworks pledged as collateral or subject to an ownership dispute can be registered on our database so that you can be informed if and when the object is offered for sale and take steps to protect that interest if necessary.
Find out more about Positive Registration, ownership interests, collateral and disputes, or contact us directly to register items under this service.
Our specialist service The Watch Register is the leading global database of lost and stolen watches. The Watch Register provides expert-audited theft checks for watch traders and buyers, as well as specialist watch recovery services to victims of theft and insurers.
For more information, please visit the website here.
Our multinational team have backgrounds as lawyers, provenance researchers, art advisers and dealers, the police, insurers, archaeologists, art historians and in technology.
We maintain a small team and there tend to be job openings only when a colleague sadly leaves us. We will advertise accordingly when full-time positions are available.
We also offer three-month, full-time paid internships at our office in London. We take on one intern at a time, and they help with our work in provenance research, managing relationships with clients and office administration. The internships each run for the period of January-March, April-June, July-September and October-December. Applications are accepted throughout the year with a short cover email and CV attached to [email protected]. We arrange interviews for a shortlist of candidates approximately 2 months before the start of each position.
Please note that we can currently only consider applicants for internships that already have the right to work in the UK.
Please contact us if you have any queries regarding our services.
International Art and Antique Loss Register Limited
16 Black Friars Lane
Tel: +44 (0)20 7841 5780
Email: [email protected]
Company registered in England and Wales.
Registration Number: 02455350