What is IFAR?
The International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational and research organization dedicated to integrity in the visual arts. IFAR offers impartial and authoritative information on authenticity, ownership, theft, and other artistic, legal, and ethical issues concerning art objects. IFAR serves as a bridge between the public, and the scholarly and commercial art communities. We publish the award-winning quarterly IFAR Journal; organize conferences, panels, and lectures; offer a unique Art Authentication Research Service and provenance research services; provide comprehensive Web-based resources, such as the Catalogue Raisonné Database and the Art Law & Cultural Property Database; and serve as an information resource. We invite all people interested in the visual arts to join our organization and help support our activities.
IFAR was established in 1969 to fill a need for an impartial and scholarly body to educate the public about problems and issues in the art world and to research the attribution and authenticity of works of art. In the 1970's, IFAR's purview expanded to include art theft and looting, and art and cultural property law and ethics. IFAR serves a broad audience and operates at the intersection where the interests of art law, art collectors, museums, galleries, scholars, and the public meet. Among other goals, it works to prevent the circulation of forged, misattributed, or misappropriated art. IFAR has earned a reputation for objectivity, scholarship, and independence, and its assistance is sought world-wide by law enforcement and government agencies, collectors, educational institutions, researchers, journalists, and the vast public interested in the visual arts, who often have no where else to turn. IFAR is headquartered in New York, and most of its public programs are also in New York.
IFAR carries out its mission through several important activities:
Art Authentication Research Service
Since its inception, IFAR's Authentication Research Service — unique in the U.S. — has objectively researched art works whose authenticity or authorship are in question, or whose existence is unknown to specialists in the field. Because IFAR's experts and researchers are held harmless from litigation and have no financial interest in the outcome, they are free to render objective opinions. IFAR is also free to publish its research in the IFAR Journal or elsewhere. In this way, IFAR can inform the public and scholars about issues relating to authenticity and help prevent the trafficking of forged or misattributed art.
By means of its quarterly Journal, which replaced its newsletter IFARreports in 1998, IFAR keeps a broad public and membership base in 19 countries informed of relevant issues in the art world. The Journal provides a lively forum for discussion and features scholarly and legal articles, book reviews, and newsbriefs on topics related to IFAR's mission. A key section is the "Stolen Art Alert," published with the help of the Art Loss Register (ALR) and Interpol. This Alert highlights works of art stolen from around the world and registered with the ALR and Interpol via Scotland Yard, local police, insurance companies, museums, galleries, and private individuals.
Art Theft Database
In the mid 1970's, when a rash of thefts consumed the art world, IFAR created the first international archive of stolen art available to the public and became a world-leader on this issue. In 1991, IFAR helped create the Art Loss Register (ALR) as a commercial enterprise to expand and market the database. IFAR managed ALR's U.S. operations through 1997. In 1998 the ALR assumed full responsibility for the IFAR database although IFAR retains ownership. IFAR remains actively involved in the legal, ethical, and educational issues surrounding the ownership and theft of art, and works closely with the ALR to prepare the "Stolen Art Alert" section of the IFAR Journal.
Programs & Events
Through an active program of lectures, panels, symposia, conferences, tours, and informal "IFAR Evenings," IFAR informs and educates its supporters, subscribers, and the public about recent scholarship and relevant issues in the art world. IFAR's stature and credibility attract prominent speakers who address a broad range of subjects.
Participation in International Symposia / Discussions
Because of its world-wide reputation, IFAR is frequently called upon to participate in policy debates and public programs on a variety of issues. In this way, IFAR maintains a visible presence and plays a leadership role in important art issues. IFAR, for example, participated in an advisory roundtable organized by the U.S. State Department in 1998 to help formulate U.S. policy toward the restitution of Holocaust era looted art, a subject in which IFAR has played a pioneering role. IFAR also played an active role in the Iraq Museum art looting crisis in 2003, and was part of the U.S. delegation to the emergency Interpol conference convened in May 2003. Over the years, IFAR has collaborated with many organizations to achieve its goals, including: The Kress Foundation, the National Academy, Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the American Alliance of Museums, the College Art Association, N.Y.U., the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association, The Council of Artists Foundations, and the Art Loss Register.
IFAR Board of Directors
Anthony Williams is Chairman of IFAR's Board of Directors. Mr. Williams, an attorney educated at Harvard College and NYU Law School, is Partner in New York at the law firm of Dentons US LLP. He assumed the chairmanship in June 2014. Immediate prior chairmen were: Jack A. Josephson and Althur G. Altschul.
Michael de Havenon
Virgilia Pancoast Klein
Aaron M. Milrad
Leon B. Polsky
Samuel Sachs II
Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr.
Jack A. Josephson, Chairman Emeritus
Dr. Sharon Flescher is Executive Director of IFAR, and Editor-In-Chief of the IFAR Journal.
Kathleen Ferguson is Assistant to the Executive Director of IFAR, and Editor of the IFAR Journal.
Dr. Lisa Duffy-Zeballos is the Director of Art Research at IFAR
IFAR's Art Advisory Council
Arthur C. Beale
Margaret Holben Ellis
Linda S. Ferber
William H. Gerdts
E. Haverkamp- Begemann
David G. Mitten
Priscilla E. Muller
Theodore E. Stebbins Jr.
Joyce Hill Stoner
Christopher J. White
IFAR's Law Advisory Council
Franklin Feldman is the Chairman of IFAR's Law Advisory Council. Mr. Feldman is co-author of Art Law: Rights and Liabilities of Creators and Collectors; and a retired partner of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.
Jan M. Boll
Aaron M. Milrad
Hanno D. Mott
James A.R. Nafziger
Leon B. Polsky
Peter R. Stern
- About IFAR
- IFAR Background