International Foundation for Art Research

Actor status: 
Academic and research institutions
Contact person: 
Kathleen Ferguson
Assistant to the Executive Director and Editor of the IFAR Journal
Postal address: 

500 Fifth Avenue, Suite 935
New York, NY 10110

Phone number: 
001 212 391 6234
E-mail address: 

The International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR), headquartered in New York, is a not-for-profit educational and research organization dedicated to integrity in the visual arts. Working at the intersection of art scholarship, art law, and the public interest, 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 quarterly IFAR Journal; organize conferences, panels, and lectures; offer a unique Art Authentication Research Service and provenance research services; and serve as an information resource, providing, among other things, several interactive web-based research tools. We invite all people interested in integrity in the visual arts to join our organization and to 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. Among other goals, IFAR 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’s mission comprises educating the public about the need for protecting the world’s cultural heritage and spreading awareness of the problem of illicit trafficking in cultural goods. IFAR accomplishes this through several activities, including:

I. Programs & Events

Through an active program of lectures, panels, symposia, tours, and informal "IFAR Evenings," IFAR informs and educates its audience about recent scholarship and relevant issues in the art world, including the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural goods. IFAR's stature and credibility attract prominent speakers who address a broad range of subjects.  Recent IFAR Evenings relating to the fight against the illicit traffic in cultural goods include "Anatomy of an Art Sting" and "It's Not Just Machu Picchu: Recovering Peru's Spanish Colonial Heritage." IFAR has also devoted major conferences to this issue, including our conference on Provenance and Due Diligence. To expand their reach, IFAR publishes the edited proceedings of its programs in the IFAR Journal.

II. 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 participated in an advisory roundtable organized by the U.S. State Department 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 was also part of the U.S. delegation to the emergency Interpol conference in May 2003 in the wake of the looting of The Iraq Museum. 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 Association of Museums, the College Art Association, New York University, The Council of Artists Foundations, and the Art Loss Register.

Related resources