NEW YORK.- The Art Loss Register has recovered a Mario Carreño painting with the cooperation of Sotheby's New York and the Atlantic Mutual Insurance Companies. The painting, a gouache on paper entitled Tres Mujeres, was hanging in the offices of a New York law firm when it was stolen in October 1993. The painting was not seen again until years later, when it was discovered by a woman in the back of a closet in a Harlem townhouse which she had recently purchased. Curious as to the value, she brought the painting to Sotheby's for appraisal in early 2008. Sotheby's extended an offer of consignment to the potential seller, and the painting was researched and catalogued for their May Latin American Art Sale in New York with an estimate of $25,000-35,000.
Sotheby's, a subscriber of the Art Loss Register (ALR), sent the catalog for routine checking against the ALR database of lost and stolen artworks. There, the Carreño painting was matched by an art historian on staff at the ALR who recognized it as exceptionally similar to that which was stolen in 1993. With the help of Sotheby's legal department, and the Atlantic Mutual Insurance Companies, which had insured the painting prior to the 1993 theft, the Art Loss Register was able to recover the work on paper for the owner and broker a deal between all parties.
The Art Loss Register maintains the world's largest database of lost and stolen artworks. Currently there are over 180,000 items registered on our database. Our global record of thefts including losses from the 1930s to the present, is compiled from losses reported by Interpol, the FBI, numerous insurance agencies, private institutions, and the public. We systematically screen the open market, including auction sales, art fairs, dealers' sales and museum acquisitions to determine if any stolen artworks are entering the marketplace. The Art Loss Register has been instrumental in recovering over $320m worth of stolen items.