Collection acquisition and museum loan guidelines november 2015
Purpose of Acquisition
- Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins (MACM) is a world-class museum exhibiting a collection of Egyptian and Graeco-Roman art, as well as neoclassical and classical modern art (the Collection). The Collection is privately owned having been built up by a collector of art and antiquities (the Collector) and has been placed on loan with MACM by the Collector. These guidelines are for the purposes of items within the Collection that are displayed by or on loan to MACM.
- It is the intention of MACM to conserve and enhance the Collection for the benefit of its audience – the public and scholars – to whom the Collection represents an important scientific and educational resource. The mission shared by both MACM and the Collector is to increase knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the Collection including its differing art forms and the history of the civilisations it represents.
- The Collection has been loaned to MACM by the Collector for the following reasons:
- To sustain and improve the archaeological and historical record and public knowledge of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman civilisations.
- To promote the interest and education of the public in relation to these key civilisations: among visitors generally (the general public), and, in particular, as an educational and scholarly resource for school, college, university students, and other researchers.
- To display ancient artworks alongside modern artworks with classical themes, to demonstrate how the classical periods have influenced artists in the last 500 years.
Principles of Acquisition
- Since its inception the Collection has been created with strong ethical considerations in mind. This notwithstanding, it is acknowledged that parts of the Collection were formed several years before the decision to found a museum was taken. The creation of the Collection must also be seen in the context of increasing regulation of the trade in ancient art in recent years.
- Historically, for objects of major importance within the Collection the Collector has sought to embrace the spirit and implications of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Cultural Property. However, since January 2017, his acquisition policy is to only buy antiquities that have left their source country before the restitution date of that country, or before 1970, whichever date is earlier.
- As a United Kingdom based citizen when the collection was formed (although no longer living in the UK), and as a museum open to the public, the Collector and MACM jointly and severally acknowledge and adhere to the principles set out in the UK governmental document entitled: "Combating Illicit Trade: Due Diligence Guidelines for Museums, Libraries and Archives on Collecting and Borrowing Cultural Material" (Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) October 2005).
- It is recognised by MACM and the Collector that, as with most museum or private collections formed over longer period of time, a number of minor items in the Collection may not be accompanied by a detailed documentary history or proof of origin, often for reasons including lost documentation, personal anonymity wishes of previous owners, confidential settlements and the great age of the items. The Collector and MACM reserve the right to use best judgement as to whether such items should continue to be placed on loan to MACM; as the display of such items can serve the interests of their representative cultures, the public and scholars and such items can be important in the public education and understanding of such cultures.
- Information resulting from provenance research allows the Collector to form an opinion as to whether to acquire a work of art and MACM to make a decision as to whether to display it. These factors include: the item’s prior exhibition history, its prior publication history, its ownership history and any background, administrative, export or sales documentation that may exist regarding the item.
- MACM may recommend acquisitions of items to the Collector if the acquisition would make it accessible to the public and specialists, thus providing a valuable contribution to knowledge in these key areas.
- MACM and the Collector support initiatives to stop the looting of antiquities and to this end support the development of shared international databases to catalogue illicit objects. MACM and the Collector would wish to collaborate with auction houses, ancient art dealers, collectors, and museums in a proactive manner to identify any illicit antiquities that may exist or be brought into the market place.
- The Collector will not knowingly acquire, and MACM will not knowingly display, ancient art that they have reasonable cause to believe has been looted or that has been stolen from a museum, an individual or family collection, or is known to have been part of a recent official archaeological excavation. All items in the Collection are registered with the Art Loss Register as a minimum to help in this regard.
- In building the Collection the Collector has sought only to purchase antiquities from public auction houses and major, internationally-recognised, antiquity dealers and owners. All objects exhibited at MACM have been available for purchase to the public.
- In seeking new acquisitions which may form part of the Collection, the Collector will require that sellers (including auction houses, dealers, and their representatives) provide all available information and documentation regarding the origins and provenance of ancient art offered for acquisition.
- All items which are to be acquired must have free and clear title and there should be no knowingly outstanding ownership or legal claim involving the item.
- The Collector will not acquire archaeological antiquities (including excavated ceramics) in any case where the Collector or curator at MACM has a reasonable suspicion that the circumstances of their recovery involved a failure to follow the appropriate legal procedures.
- So far as biological and geological material is concerned, the Collector and MACM will not acquire, by any direct or indirect means any item that is reasonably believed to have been collected, sold or otherwise transferred in contravention of any national or international wildlife protection or natural history conservation law or treaty of the United Kingdom or any other country, except with the express consent of an appropriate outside authority.
- The Collector will not acquire any item unless it is reasonably satisfied that the item has not been acquired in, or exported from, its country of origin (or any intermediate country in which it may have been legally owned) in violation of that country’s laws.
- Any exceptions to the above clauses 2.11 – 2.14 will only be made in circumstances when the Collector and MACM are:
- acquiring an item of minor importance that lacks secure ownership history but in the best judgement of experts in the field concerned has not been stolen or illegally exported; or
- acting with the permission of authorities with the requisite jurisdiction in the country of origin; or
- in possession of reliable documentary evidence that the item was exported from its country of origin before 1970; or
- maintaining possession of an item subject to an ownership dispute until the dispute is resolved.
- MACM is aware of and where relevant will apply the principles of “Spoliation of Works of Art during the Holocaust and World War II period: Statement of Principles and Proposed Actions”, issued by the United Kingdom's National Museum Directors' Conference in 1998.
- Any disposal of an item from the Collection should be specifically for the advancement of the objectives of MACM. In assessing such objectives, the criteria to be used are as follows:
- The item is no longer relevant to the cultural or ethical objectives of MACM or has limited intellectual or educational value.
- The item is redundant or a duplicate and not required for research.
- The item is of inferior quality to other items in the collection or those that may be acquired and added to the Collection.
- The item lacks sufficient archaeological/historical importance to justify keeping it at MACM.
- The item is unduly difficult or impossible to curate.
- A decision to dispose of an item from the Collection, whether by gift, exchange, sale or destruction, will be the responsibility of the Collector acting as appropriate with the advice of MACM and taking such independent third party advice as MACM and the Collector may feel necessary.
Loans to and from MACM
- Any items loaned to MACM by other third parties must have free and clear title and there should be no outstanding ownership or legal claim involving the items on loan.
- MACM and the Collector may make loans from the Collection to other galleries and museums in order to increase knowledge, understanding and scholarship relating to the items in the Collection. Loans will be made only to properly established organisations and to proper venues and usually only to exhibitions that are open to the general public.
- Items in fragile, poor, or unstable condition making them unsuitable for display or transport will not be lent.
- Loans will not be made in circumstances that would be damaging to the standing and reputation of MACM, the Collector or the Collection. Loans will be not be made to any other collection or temporary exhibition which includes objects that are known to have been stolen, illegally exported or illegally excavated.
- Items will be lent only when the risk to the condition of the object is considered reasonable and when the borrower provides its reasonable assurance that the items will be returned to MACM at the end of the loan.
- MACM will require to approve the use of any images of items loaned by it and to be given reasonable control of the rights arising.
- These guidelines shall be reviewed by MACM and the Collector on a regular basis.