ALR Quarterly Newsletter Issue 16 – Jan/Feb 2020

What have we been up to?
It might be quite late but wishing you all a very happy and successful 2020!

Recovery of ancient Kushan sculpture makes international headlines
We are delighted to announce that a Kushan sculpture that was stolen the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul in the 1990s will shortly be repatriated.
The sculpture was identified on sale at TimeLine Auctions in November 2019, and has now been recovered by the Metropolitan Police Art & Antiques Unit, while experts at the British Museum were also contacted to liaise with colleagues in Afghanistan.
The piece had originally been registered on the database as part of our project to proactively register cultural property considered as missing, stolen or at risk. The project has included incorporating objects recorded in Francine Tissot’s Catalogue of the National Museum of Afghanistan, 1931-1985, which was published by UNESCO,
onto the ALR database.
Upon this recovery, the National Museum of Afghanistan has kindly agreed to the display of the sculpture in the UK for the first time, before its return to Kabul.
You can see it now and for the next few weeks at the British Museum in Room 53!

2020 begins with recovery of three paintings working with the Carabinieri TPC
We are also pleased to share news of three paintings that have been recently recovered by the Carabinieri, which
the ALR identified during searches on public and private sales. The Carabinieri’s Tutela Patrimonio Culturale
(TPC) is regarded as one of the foremost art crime teams internationally, and we have assisted them in the identification and recovery of many objects stolen in Italy.

The latest three are:
Joshua Reynolds, Portrait of Richard Edgecumbe (right), matched in a routine catalogue check at a UK auction house in 2016;
Mary Magdalene by Gian Giacomo Barbelli, matched in a routine catalogue check at an Italian auction house in 2019;
Harbour Scene by Nicolaes Pieters Berchem, located with a private owner in Switzerland in 2019.

The Watch Register ‘match’ leads to international police investigation
A stolen Rolex located through The Watch Register service has led to an international police investigation and the
recovery of 35 watches from the same theft.
The watches were stolen in Athens in an armed robbery in December 2018. Europol notified SaferGems who
registered the watches on The Watch Register database.
In October 2019, a London watch trader undertook due diligence by checking the Rolex through The Watch Register service. When it was matched to the stolen watch, the Metropolitan Police were contacted along with the Security Division of Attica via Europol. The police investigation traced the previous ownership to a Moldovan in Greece, who
has now been arrested. 34 stolen watches from the original theft were found to still be in his possession, and have now been recovered. Three of the stolen watches, however, remain unaccounted for and remain on The Watch Register.

Royal Academy course – Year 2!
After a sell-out success at the Royal Academy last year, the RA will once again be hosting a weekend course on Art Crime, in association with the ALR.
The ALR’s James Ratcliffe, Amelie Ebbinghaus, and guest speakers and panellists will discuss various aspects of art crime, and how it relates to the art market and wider world today. The course runs 28th – 29th March 2020 and is almost fully booked, but there are still places available.

Where to find us…
Next week we will be at the Global Auction House Summit, presented by Invaluable, in Paris 3rd – 5th February – tickets still available.
Don’t miss the ALR’s Paul Exbrayat on the panel for”Athenticity & Provenance: Due Diligence in the Auction Industry” on Tuesday afternoon.

Alongside other conferences and events, we will be present and part of the vetting at the upcoming fairs over the next few months (until our next Newsletter!):
– TEFAF Maastricht
– Art Basel Hong Kong
– Art Cologne