Artive will be the first central, technological resource of its kind.

Christopher Marinello, CEO of the Art Recovery International, with a recovered Matisse. Photo Courtesy Art Recovery International.

Art Recovery International (ARI) announced today launch of Artive, a new non-profit organization formed with the aim of protecting and preserving the world’s cultural heritage through technological means.

Artive will serve as the first non-for-profit to identify claims in regards to artworks, and will consolidate the seemingly-limitless amount of information about at-risk, stolen, looted, and destroyed works of art and cultural property. The organization will function as an expansion of Artclaim, ARI’s pre-existing database project.

“By providing a central, not-for-profit data resource,” the press release states,” Artive will create a new permanent platform preserving cultural heritage for present and future generations.”

Though headquartered in the US, the non-profit seeks to stretch its reach throughout the globe, and is encouraging “cultural institutions, law enforcement agencies, intergovernmental bodies, and all holders and custodians of data worldwide” to use the archival system, branded as “the most technologically advanced and agile collection management tool in the world.”

Christopher A. Marinello, head of ARI, will continue in his chief role that specializes in Nazi-era restitution, provenance analysis, and title disputes. He will serve on Artive’s advisory board.

As the destruction of cultural heritage becomes more prevalent worldwide, Artive arrives in a timely fashion. “We believe in the power of community to solve problems by sharing information,” said CEO Jason Sousa.

“Together, we can create and manage the world’s most comprehensive public database to protect and preserve cultural heritage today, tomorrow and for generations to come.”


LONDON, 16 NOVEMBER 2016:  Art Recovery International today announces the expansion of its pioneering and award-winning ArtClaim database project with the formation of ARTIVE, a new independent non-profit organization with a stated mission to protect and preserve the world’s cultural heritage through the use of technology. The not-for-profit will be headquartered in the United States but will operate with an international mission.

Lawyer Christopher A. Marinello, will continue to head Art Recovery International, one of the world’s leading private art recovery organizations specializing in Nazi-era restitution, provenance research and the mediation of complex art related title disputes, and will serve on Artive’s advisory board.

Artive is seeking to unify the vast amount of information about at-risk, stolen, looted and destroyed works of art and cultural property held by a diverse and dispersed range of institutions and organizations. By providing a central, not-for-profit data resource, Artive will create a new permanent platform preserving cultural heritage for present and future generations.

The Artive database system and records will also have a pertinent application to due diligence practices in the commercial art market. Artive will be the first not-for-profit, impartial service for identifying claims or taints attached to works of art.

Christopher A. Marinello says:

“This partition fulfills our promise to the art market to create an ethical source for due diligence totally devoid of conflicts of interest.  Those who discover a match or title dispute when using the Artive Database can engage their own lawyer, expert, or law enforcement official to aid in the recovery or restitution of an object.”

“With over $500M worth of artwork recovered over the years, I am confident that victims, dealers, insurers, and collectors will continue to reach out to Art Recovery International to help resolve disputes over title to fine art.”


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For more information or additional comment, please contact:

Christopher A. Marinello
CEO, Art Recovery International
+44 (0) 203 763 3540
+44 (0) 7702 206 913
+1 917 450 5799

Notes to editors:

ART RECOVERY INTERNATIONAL provides research, dispute resolution and art recovery services, offering clients expert and ethical advice on the management, acquisition and return of cultural property.

More information regarding art recovery services can be found at or follow our Twitter account for regular art crime and cultural heritage news and updates.

ARTIVE INC is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in the United States with a stated mission of protecting and preserving the world’s cultural heritage through the use of technology.  More information about its mission, and database registration and search services can be found at


LONDON, 19 SEPTEMBER 2016: Art Recovery Group is pleased to announce the recovery of an indigenous Colombian artefact. The ceramic sculpture was offered for sale at a London auction house earlier this year, 80 years after a mysterious and inexplicable disappearance from a museum in Cartagena, Colombia. The figure was last catalogued by the museum in 1939 though its location has been a mystery ever since.

In 2016, after purportedly being rejected by Sotheby’s, the sculpture was consigned to Hampstead Auctions in London for sale. While researching the provenance of the piece, Hampstead Auctions art historian Beth West saw a number of red flags which prompted her to contact Art Recovery Group, which manages the ArtClaim Database: the world’s most advanced private database of stolen, looted and claimed works of art, as part of their standard due diligence processes.

Further research revealed the chequered ownership history of the sculpture. The consignor, who wishes to remain anonymous, was contacted by Art Recovery Group who learned that the sculpture had been obtained as a gift in 1999 on a visit to Cartegena.

Art Recovery Group contacted the Colombian authorities and, shortly thereafter, the Director of Colombia’s National Museum, Daniel Castro, confirmed the sculpture’s history within the museum’s collection. The museum holds no record for the circumstances under which the sculpture disappeared.

With the object identified from the museum’s inventory, the consignor agreed to an unconditional restitution of the sculpture to the Colombian authorities and the work was officially returned at a small ceremony at the Colombian Embassy in London earlier this month.

Christopher A. Marinello, CEO of Art Recovery Group, said:

“According to the consignor, in 1999 he was visiting his then girlfriend’s family in Colombia and was given the sculpture as a departing gift. He was thoroughly searched at the airport for drugs, even including the shoulder pads of his jacket. But whilst the figure was presented to airport security, it was allowed to leave the country without a second glance.”

“However, I am very impressed at the level of cooperation achieved in returning this important part of Colombia’s cultural heritage and I know how grateful they are to have it back. Hampstead Auctions should be commended – it is a relatively small operation but they could teach the bigger players in the art market a thing or two about thorough due diligence.”

Art Recovery Group offers its services to governments and law-enforcement agencies on a pro-bono basis, and the Quimbayan sculpture will now be sent back to Colombia to be received by the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History.


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