|Henri Matisse's Le Jardin recently recovered|
by the Art Loss Register.
Charles Roberts, owner of Charles Fine Art, is also being lauded for his due diligence. When a Polish collector approached Roberts to inquire about selling Le Jardin, he searched the ALR database and identified the painting.
Roberts notified the ALR and its director, Christopher Marinello, stepped in personally to begin negotiations with the Polish collector. Marinello is keeping the exact details private, but told the BBC "No payments were made, no arms were broken." He happily noted: "Let's just say this was a Christmas present for the people of Sweden." Kristen Ek, the spokeswoman for the Museum of Modern Art Stockholm, agreed: "It is fantastic that the painting has turned up again. It was stolen so long ago that really we had almost given up hope."
The recovery is a significant victory for the ALR, the largest international private database of stolen, missing, and looted artwork. At an International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) lecture in December, Marinello strongly reiterated that art thefts are on the rise and that diligence is increasingly important. Following drug trafficking, money laundering and arms trading, art theft is the most lucrative blackmarket activity internationally. Current predictions are that the sale of stolen art now totals over $7 billion every year. Unfortunately, only five to ten percent of stolen artwork is recovered.
|Christoper Marinello, director of the Art|
Loss Register, proudly displays
the recovered Matisse.
|Vermeer's The Concert stolen from |
the Gardner Museum in 1990.
The Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm is still missing three Picasso paintings and one Braque stolen in 1993. If you have any information contact the ALR, the FBI Art Crime Team or Interpol.
Sources: The Wall Street Journal, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum: Theft Overview, The Daily Mail, BBC, The Art Loss Register, International Foundation for Art Research "Anatomy of an Art Sting" Lecture, Center for Art Law. Images from BBC, The Art Loss Register and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.