Earlier this week, British art recovery specialist Christopher Marinello of the Art Loss Register ("ALR") in London successfully recovered a painting by French artist Henri Matisse stolen from the Moderna Museet in Stockholm back in May 1987, as recently reported by MSN.com.
Matisse's "Le Jardin" painting is currently valued at just under $1 million (i.e., $916,200).
The 25-year old theft was reported to both Interpol and the ALR, which is the "world's largest international private database of stolen, missing and looted artwork[,]" according to MSN.com.
An art dealer in Britain checked with the ALR register before selling the Matisse, which led to the safe recovery of the painting said to be in "good condition" by the Moderna Museet's spokesperson, Kristin Ek. A painting by Georges Braque remains missing from the Moderna Museet following a subsequent theft in 1993.
Last fall, as highlighted in a past Art Law blog post, thieves made away with a number of paintings by prominent artists Picasso, Matisse, Monet, and others, from the Kunsthal Museum in Rotterdam, valued in the tens of millions of dollars.
Stolen art is becoming a very lucrative industry reports MSN.com, with approximately $6 billion to $7 billion worth of thefts each year, and the current global economic climate may be responsible in part for the recent surge in such crimes. According to Marinello, only about 5-10 percent of stolen art is ever successfully recovered.