Painting recovered by Art Recovery International sells for £80,000

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Vue Générale de Saint Cirq Lapopie (detail) by Henri Martin

A painting by renowned French Impressionist Henri Martin sold for £80,000 on Tuesday, two and a half years after it was stolen from a private residence in Hertfordshire, England.

The painting had been recovered with the help of research, dispute resolution and recovery services Art Recovery International, which is part of the Art Recovery Group. It was consigned for sale at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers by the loss adjuster originally involved in the theft.

In 2013, Art Recovery International received a tip that Martin’s ‘Vue Générale de Saint Cirq Lapopie’ was being offered for sale in Canada. In line with established company policy, Art Recovery International immediately notified Three Rivers Police who confirmed that there was an active investigation, concerning ‘Vue Générale de Saint Cirq Lapopie’ and several other works.

Art Recovery International turned over all relevant case files to Three Rivers Police and cooperated fully to aid in their investigation.

In November 2014, the painting resurfaced again: ArtClaim was contacted by a London art dealer with a query regarding a painting attributed to Henri Martin. A visitor to the dealer’s office space, in which the work was displayed, recognised it as the stolen work detailed in a theft notice in the Antiques Trade Gazette and advised the dealer to seek professional due diligence services.

A search of the ArtClaim Database promptly identified the painting as the stolen Henri Martin and, with the full cooperation of the dealer, Art Recovery International sought clearance from Three Rivers Police and Metropolitan Police to take possession of the painting.

After receiving confirmation from both agencies that the painting was no longer subject to an active police investigation, Art Recovery International took possession of ‘Vue Générale de Saint Cirq Lapopie’ on behalf of the insurance company who had insured the work at the time of theft and now held the rights to recover.

Speaking ahead of this week’s sale, Art Recovery Group’s recoveries & claims director, Alice Farren-Bradley, said:

“Successful recoveries are often contingent on two things: patience and co-operation. Too many cases are obstructed by parties that are unwilling to share information or step forward when they have a concern. This case demonstrates the effectiveness of collaboration with law enforcement and the art market in recovering stolen works of art.”​