LONDON, June 13 /PRNewswire/ --
- Visual Matching Succeeds where Text-based Matching Fails
http://www.trace.com, an on-line, real-time registry of valuables for identifying the ownership and authenticity of valuable goods, announced today that it has identified a painting at a US museum that may have been looted during the Nazi era. The images appear identical despite very different text descriptions.
Trace.com experts estimate the value of the painting at over US$250,000. It was originally reported looted by the Belgian government.
The online registry has records of over 40,000 looted items from government, law enforcement, and private sources, making it the largest, online international resource of Nazi era looted art in the world. While the Trace service is limited to the identification of reported missing, stolen and looted items, the company has informed the Belgian government about the potential find.
Using a combination of sophisticated text-based and visual matching technologies, that transcends the limitations of solely text-based searching, Trace works with auction houses, dealers, pawnbrokers and more to check whether valuable items have been ever reported missing, stolen or looted. The entire database of a wide range of lost and stolen valuables including consumer electronics, jewellery and more includes over 420,000 items.
Jacob Khokhlov, Trace Head of Art Services, who researched the painting, commented: "By building a comprehensive database of looted art, and making much of this information available to the public for the first time, we are confident that the project will contribute to the identification and return of looted art that otherwise may have been lost to the victims' families forever."
"It has been estimated that the Nazis systematically looted about 20% of all Western art, and there remains 100,000 items reported looted at large."
Benny Arbel, CEO of Trace, said: "In this case, the pictures appear identical but the descriptions are quite different, so such a match might not appear in an ordinary text-based search. To make sure match results are credible, Trace incorporates sophisticated visual matching technology, which transcends the problems of text-based searching caused by differences in descriptions, jargon or language."
How victims can identify stolen property using the Trace Looted Art website:
Images: http://www.tracelootedart.com incorporates a highly sophisticated image-matching technology that will allow images provided by victims to be used to search items on the registry.
Descriptions: Families can enter descriptions of items -- whether from memory or written documents. The text-based matching facility will identify all items matching the description.
Preventing the future sale of looted art: Many of the items stolen by the Nazis disappeared into private collections and Swiss bank vaults. Occasionally these items reappear for sale at auctions. Major auction houses check the Trace database before publishing their catalogues to make sure they are not auctioning an item with questionable ownership. If a looted item is searched, the appropriate authorities are alerted.
About the Trace Looted Art Project
Trace developed the Looted Art Project (http://www.tracelootedart.com) to leverage its network of auction houses, dealers, museums, collectors and law enforcement to help identify objects plundered by the Nazis. The comprehensive database of Holocaust-Era looted art is checked against objects for sale by dealers and auction houses.
The Trace (http://www.trace.com) on-line, real-time registry of valuables is the global standard for identifying the ownership and authenticity of valuable goods. Trace database is used by auction houses, dealers, owners of valuables, police and security organisations, retailers, luxury brands and insurance companies.
Created by retail, insurance and hi-tech executives, Trace has the commitment, talent and resources to create the world on-line standard for verifying the validity and authenticity of used valuables in real time. Trace is a limited company headquartered in the UK, with offices in Menlo Park, California, and Tel Aviv, Israel.
Web site: http://www.trace.com
Jacob Khokhlov, Head of Trace Art Services, UK +44(0)870-767-3463, or Ken Bouche, Head of Trace, US +1-224-234-1658. Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080613/AQF040 ; PRN Photo Desk, email@example.com