Recover


The Art Loss Register (ALR) has been successful over the 30 years of its existence in locating thousands of items in the art market which had been stolen, looted or were otherwise subject to a claim. As a result we have built up unrivalled experience in securing the return of such items for their rightful owners or, where appropriate, negotiating some other benefit for the claimant whether they be an individual, an insurer, a museum, a member of the trade, or others.

We offer the assistance of our Recoveries team to all clients who register items with us, as well as to anyone who contacts us with a request for assistance in their claim.

We usually charge for our assistance in the recovery process on the basis of a fee calculated as 20% of the net benefit to our clients through our actions. This means that our interests are always aligned with yours in securing the best possible outcome for you.

We also offer our services free of charge to law enforcement agencies, nation states, and certain others where appropriate.

The Recoveries team at the ALR benefits from lawyers within the company who have trained in a range of jurisdictions, as well as trained art historians and archaeologists, not to mention the wide range of languages spoken amongst the staff. The team has led on the successful resolution of countless claims through negotiation, as well as via the Courts where necessary. We work closely with law enforcement agencies where such agencies are still in a position to take action.

Once registered, an item will remain on the database until recovery or the resolution of the claim against it. We carry out over 400,000 searches of items on the market each year on behalf of law enforcement agencies, more than 120 subscribing auction houses, art fairs, dealers, museums, pawnbrokers, and private collectors. If a registered item appears on the market, there is therefore a very good chance that we would identify it.

When the item has been located, we will pass all of the information we have discovered about the item’s location onto the registrant as soon as possible and put them in touch with the current holder. If the registrant would also like to benefit from our years of experience and success in the recovery of stolen and looted artworks, they can appoint us to represent them to recover the object.

There is a small initial administrative fee of £10, €15 or $15 (plus VAT where applicable) to register a stolen item. Beyond this we strive to ensure that fees do not hinder the identification of stolen art works so further fees are only payable if a registered item is located. At that point a ‘Location Fee’ of 5% of the ultimate net benefit to the registrant is charged. This means that if the object is located by the ALR, we will pass all of the information we have discovered about the item’s location onto the registrant as soon as possible, and put them in touch with the current holder. If, at the end of the process, the object is recovered or subject to a settlement, a fee of 5% of the benefit to the registrant is then charged.

If the registrant would also like to benefit from our years of experience and success in the recovery of stolen and looted artworks and appoints us to represent them to recover the object, we charge a ‘Recovery Fee’ of 20% of the ultimate net benefit and no Location Fee is payable.

If you have any questions about these fees, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Very much so. The ALR’s Recoveries team include members qualified in this area, and can provide both practical and legal guidance in this domain from the extensive experience of the hundreds of cases on which they work each year.

We work closely with police worldwide to register stolen items and inform them when those objects are located.

We also check objects that have been seized or are being investigated in case they are registered on our database as subject to a claim.

Our work on behalf of law enforcement is free of charge.

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.

You can see our News section for some examples – although given that we are working on 150+ cases at any one time, there are many that do not end up written up!