Ariane Moser
English Russian
English Russian

The Interview: Ariane Moser, COO Artive

Artive logo

Due diligence in the art market is a crucial part of art transactions, considering rising popularity of various international online selling venues, and a great number of independent art and antique sellers. In Russia antiques may be sold online via the local online platforms, antique shops, online auctions and even online forums.

It is not easy to check the credibility of a seller, however the number of sellers and online selling venues is rising, and it is certainly combined with the risks for the buyer (and of course for the seller who may not know what he is selling).

— How serious is the problem of forgeries and stolen objects? How important is the role of a seller? Who may be considered a "good" seller, and how to check the credibility of a seller?

— It is hard to put a reliable, statistical value on forged and stolen art works circulating the legitimate art market. There are still many thefts that aren’t reported and many fakes and forgeries that aren’t known. Thefts and forgeries form a big part in the sphere of art crime, alongside money laundering, looting of archaeological sites etc. The remains a serious problem. The severity of this issue calls for responsible and diligent buyers and sellers alike.

Due diligence is a paramount part of any risk management process prior to any art transaction.

Unfortunately, it can be quite challenging in the current, still unregulated market to know the true identity and check the credibility of a seller, especially on online auction sites like Ebay etc. When in doubt, don’t buy or investigate further. This could be in the form of internet research, check local company registries, enquire within your network etc.

— How to be protected from purchasing forgery or stolen objects, especially online with so many online auctions and selling platforms? What would be due diligence advice for acquisition of antiques? What kind of research may be done before the acquisition, if purchasing without help of a professional art dealer?

Ариан Мозер (Ariane Moser)
Ariane Moser (Photo: courtesy of The Art Partners)

— To protect yourself from purchasing forged or stolen objects, be sure you undertake sufficient due diligence in terms of “knowing” who you’re buying from and what you are buying. This is of course easier said than done. How many questions are enough questions, how much due diligence is enough? There are a couple of things that a buyer can keep in mind: Inquire about the standards of the sale: does the price seem legitimate? Do some market research around the particular artist/maker, seek the help of someone who does valuations. Undertake forensic analysis if necessary. Also be on high alert if the identity of the seller is concealed, if the object has no provenance, no image, the description of the object contains lots of typos, if the seller is reluctant to provide information about provenance and/or conditions of the piece, and there are no clear terms and conditions of the sale. Look into any export or import restrictions that need to be regarded during the sale, for antiquities, check relevant sources and red flag lists (i.e. ICOM red flag list), check the news for any alerts and be clear about the source country and time of export from that source country, i.e. know as much about the provenance as possible! There are many new initiatives out there, like The Art Due Diligence Group in London or the Responsible Art Market Initiative in Switzerland, endeavouring to change and raise the standard of due diligence by assisting in all due diligence processes that are involved in an art transaction.

— Which preventive measures could be taken to protect a collection (object) from stealing? What can be done if a collection (object) is already stolen?

— There are of course “physical” security measures you can put into place, like security guards, CCTV and alarm installations. Establishing a good network and relationship with your local law enforcement agency and other specialist networks within your sector and collector’s community can help too. Lastly, a comprehensive documentation (including location of each piece, insurance details, photographs, valuation and condition reports etc.) will help speed up the recovery in the event that the stolen objects are located. This is good practice for a good collection management or inventory system and is invaluable.

If you have been the victim of a theft, your first step would be to report the incident to the police, register the loss with databases like Artive, make sure that the market is alerted in some way to your loss. You could start scan the market for upcoming lots as a proactive approach, in addition to the work organisations like Artive are already doing. If you are a potential buyer, then make sure to check databases for any potential title disputes, do your due diligence as mentioned earlier before committing to the sale.

— Interpol is an intergovernmental organization having its own database. Is Artive linked to the Interpol database? Is it linked to non-English databases?

— Interpol is its own entity and governmental agency that would find it very hard to be linked to outside entities. It is a valuable resource as it establishes a common connection and channel between law enforcement agencies. Artive offers to professionally check the Interpol database of stolen art when conducting a search against the Artive database.

Artive is linked to non-English databases. As an inclusive organisation, Artive promotes national and international use with the inclusion of international databases in many different languages.

ALL ARTICLES
On June 18th and from June 20th to 22nd, 2018 Swiss auction house Schuler Auktionen will be hosting their next auction in Zurich. Among the lots to be offered for sale are some Russian icons from the XVII — XIX centuries: a large twopartite icon “Unexpected Joy” – “Synaxis of the Archangel Michael” (XIX century), “Christ Pantocrator” (1st part of the XIX century), “Archangel Michael Horseman” (XVIII century), “St. Elisha” (XVII century), “Fiery Ascent of the Prophet Elijah” (around 1600), “Christ Pantocrator” (XIX century), as well as the icon with the bright glass bead embroidered casing and the frame (XIX century).  Next...
  • Views: 5855
On June 6th, 2018 leading Russian art auction house MacDougall’s is hosting their next auction in London. The highlights: Konstantin Somov’s “Meeting in the Park” (1919), Ivan Shishkin's “Pine Forest. Yelbuga” (1897), Pavel Kuznetsov’s “Fountain” (1904), Chaïm Soutine’s portrait “La liseuse endormie, Madeleine Castaing” (c. 1937), Ivan Khrutsky's “Still Life with Fruit and Honeycomb” (1840), Alexander Deineka’s “Woman in a Yellow Dress” (1955), Georgy Nissky’s “Reclining Nude” (c. 1959) and other artwork.  Next...
  • Views: 7146
Martin Hans Borg, Russian art expert from Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers, Bredgade 33, Copenhagen, Denmark, talks about the Russian art auction on June 8th, 2018, as well as the role of provenance in the selection of items for auctions. “We have contact with the branches of the Danish royal house, which continuously consigns Russian art treasures to our auctions. It always provides an extraordinary touch when there are royal and imperial provenances on the lots that are up for auction. This is also the case at the summer's Russian auction."  Next...
  • Views: 8359
Excercising due diligence in art transactions means using stolen art databases. Obviously, the existence of separate databases renders the work of international art businesses more difficult by imposing additional responsibilities in the verification of provenance.  Next...
  • Views: 13671
Kovalev, Alexey Anatolyevich – research associate of the Russian Academy of Science, the Institute of Archaeology, Russian Academy of Science, member of the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly, the vice-president of the Scientific committee on Archaeological Heritage of the National Committee ICOMOS of Russia – talks about Russian legislation on the protection of archaeological heritage. Alexey Anatolyevich was a member of the working group, which drafted Federal Law No. 245 “On the amendments in the legislative acts of the Russian Federation on combating illicit activity in archaeology”.  Next...
  • Views: 7786
The Responsible Art Market Initiative (“RAM”) formed in Geneva in 2015 offers the Guidelines on combatting Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing for the businesses transacting in the art market in Switzerland and abroad. The focus of the guidelines lies mainly on art dealers, who are at great risk of being used by criminals in schemes of money laundering and terrorist financing.  Next...
  • Views: 2056
Liu Yi is a renowned watercolour artist from Shanghai, member of the China Artists Association and International Watercolour Society. More than twenty of his watercolour works of art won prestigious awards at home and international exhibitions. Liu Yi’s watercolours are held in the collection of museums, local governments, libraries, enterprises, art galleries and international private collections. Mr. Yi is also the author of several books exploring the art of watercolour.  Next...
  • Views: 2226
Vasilisa Neshataeva, Phd, AP International law department of the Russian State University of Justice, author of the book “Cultural Property. Value and Law” (available in Russian and recommended to all interested in art business) speaks about the possibility of creating national control in the Russian art market, protection of a buyer and liabilities of a seller.  Next...
  • Views: 2224
Ariane Moser, COO, Artive, on how to secure art transactions by exercising appropriate due diligence.  Next...
  • Views: 3088