A painting by renowned French Impressionist Henri Martin sold today at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers four years after being stolen from a private residence in Hertfordshire, England.
In 2013, Art Recovery International received information 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, ArtClaim was contacted by a London art dealer with a query regarding a painting that had been purchased as attributed to Henri Martin. On a visit to the dealer’s office space, in which the work was displayed, a second dealer recognised it as the stolen work detailed in a theft notice in the Antiques Trade Gazette. The visiting dealer then advised the possessor 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 today’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.”
Henri Martin last made the news when the artist’s ‘La vallée du vert à Labastide-du-Vert’ led a $1.2 million sale at Heritage Auctions last December.
‘Vue Générale de Saint Cirq Lapopie’ was offered for sale today at Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers Spring Country House Sale, attaining a hammer price of £80,000 ($120,000) on an estimate of £80,000-100,000 ($120,000-150,000).