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The Art Loss Register - A Tool for Due Diligence


Sarah Jackson

The Concept – The Art Loss Register (ALR), the largest private database of stolen and looted works of art, was formed in 1990 in London by the leading auction houses, Sotheby’s and Christie’s, European art trade bodies, the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) in New York, a clearing house of information on stolen art objects that had collated records on cultural theft dating back to the late 1960’s and insurance companies Lloyds of London and Nordstern, now AXA. Prior to its formation and the opportunity it offers to both theft victim and buyer/collector of art to demonstrate due diligence, these constituencies would have had to rely on advertisements of stolen art in the press or specialist art & antique magazines, with the theft victim hoping that their missing objects would be spotted and reported to the police and the art dealer or collector having to rely on memory in order to avoid buying unwittingly a stolen object. For both, advertising as a means to locate and identify stolen art objects was unreliable and frustrating.


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