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Outgoing loans policy

1. Summary

The Art Gallery of New South Wales developed out of the New South Wales Academy of Art, established in Sydney on 24 April 1871. It was firmly founded on 19th-century ideals of public education and cultural enrichment. Today the Gallery has a rich and varied collection, encompassing Australian and international art. The Gallery and its functions are determined by the Art Gallery of New South Wales Act 1980. The principal objectives of the Art Gallery of New South Wales Trust, outlined in section 7 of the Act, are to develop and maintain a collection of works of art and to propagate and increase the knowledge and appreciation of art. Facilitating access to and appreciation of art through an active outgoing loans program supports this latter objective. The Gallery is committed to conducting a wide-reaching outgoing loans program, making its collection accessible to broad and diverse audiences across New South Wales and its regional communities, as well as nationally and internationally. In managing its outgoing loans program, the Gallery will seek to balance the accessibility of the collection and its display in a variety of cultural, aesthetic and intellectual contexts, with practical considerations regarding the long-term care, preservation, display, interpretation and stewardship of the collection.

Outgoing loans are assessed and approved in accordance with the powers afforded to the Gallery under the Act and this occurs within an accepted approval and management framework. The Gallery negotiates and manages outgoing loans on terms that are ethical, honourable, responsible and transparent to public scrutiny, thereby maintaining its standing and reputation for excellence with the general public and museum community, both nationally and internationally. This policy sets out the principles that the Gallery will adopt and factors it will consider when assessing, approving and conducting outgoing loans from the collection.

2. Authority

This policy is established by the director and approved by the Board of Trustees pursuant to the Act.

3. Objective

The objectives of the policy are to ensure that the Gallery:
a. advances its mission and objectives by making its collections accessible to broad audiences through an active and soundly managed outgoing loans program
b. manages and negotiates outgoing loans on terms that are ethical, honourable, responsible and transparent to public scrutiny
c. maintains its standing and reputation for integrity and excellence with the general public and the museum community, both nationally and internationally.

These objectives are to be achieved by ensuring that the Gallery:
a. demonstrates best practice in the risk management of outgoing loans
b. avoids any act or omission that may compromise the Gallery’s position and reputation for integrity in public administration.

4. Application

This policy applies to all activities relating to the outgoing loan of works of art from the collection to other parties.

5. Definitions

In this policy:

  • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander art means artwork by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artist or containing Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander themes or content. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art is defined in accordance with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Policy.
  • Accession means the process undertaken that formally acknowledges an artwork to be part of the collection.
  • Acquisition means the process of obtaining valid title to an artwork, in accordance with the Art Acquisitions Policy.
  • Acquisitions and Loans Committee means the Board of Trustees sub-committee established to review and confirm the acquisition of artworks and the deaccessioning of artworks from the collection, as well as reviewing and approving requests for outgoing loans and long-term incoming loans from the collection in accordance with the Art Gallery of New South Wales Trust – Acquisitions and Loans Committee Charter.
  • Act means the Art Gallery of New South Wales Act 1980.
  • Borrower means a public cultural institution or NSW Government ministerial offices.
  • Collection means works of art in various media that are Gallery property and have been formally accessioned. The collection also includes other material acquired and accessioned by the Gallery for the purpose of research and enhancement of the collection, including the National Art Archive and study collection.
    1. National Art Archive collection means the sum of the institutional archive and the collected archives held by the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
    2. Study collection comprises works of art designated for the purpose of study or research that support or relate to works of art or artists in the collection. The study collection is a sub-category of the collection and works are accessioned.

  • Director means the director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
  • Director delegation means the director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ delegated authority to approve acquisitions within established delegation limits, as set out in the schedule of approved director’s delegations attached to this policy.
  • Furnishing collection means a selection of works available for loan to NSW Parliament House, Government House and ministerial offices.
  • Gallery means the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
  • Outgoing loan means any contracted arrangement for the transfer of possession of an artwork from the Gallery to another party or parties on a temporary basis under which the Gallery grants a temporary right of possession to the borrower. It therefore includes loans in the strict legal sense of gratuitous bailments, bailments that arise from contracts that expressly benefit both the Gallery and the party receiving possession and other sharing arrangements, such as a scheduled rotation of possession among co-owners. For the purpose of this policy, outgoing loans encompasses touring exhibitions. The terms lender, borrower, lending and borrowing and loan are to be construed in the context of this definition and unless otherwise specified, references to outgoing loan or any related terms may apply to proposed, contemplated, potential, approved or realised loan arrangements.
  • Provenance means the history and ownership of an item from the time of its discovery or creation to the present day, from which authenticity and ownership is determined.
  • Touring exhibition means an exhibition of art that may include works drawn from the collection, incoming loans and/or commissions that the Gallery tours to other venues, in accordance with the Exhibitions Development Policy.
  • Trustee means a member of the Board of Trustees of the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

6. Policy

6.1 Principles

Facilitating access to the Gallery’s collection through an active outgoing loans program is consistent with the objective to propagate and increase knowledge and appreciation of art, as defined in section 7 of the Act. The outgoing loans program also reflects the significance of the collection. The Gallery supports the sharing of cultural heritage and will seek to agree to as many outgoing loan requests as possible. In considering outgoing loan requests, the Gallery will take into consideration the need to balance the accessibility of its collection in a variety of cultural, aesthetic and intellectual contexts, with the long-term care, preservation, display and interpretation and stewardship of the collection.

The Gallery will lend works to recognised regional, national and international cultural institutions for exhibition and display purposes. The Gallery will also make a selection of works available for outgoing loan to NSW Parliament House, Government House and ministerial offices through the furnishing loans program. The Gallery may also conduct outgoing loans for other purposes, including but not limited to conservation or provenance research or in order to facilitate access to parts of the collection by traditional owners and communities. As a general rule, the Gallery does not lend to commercial galleries, businesses or venues, or to private individuals, except in exceptional circumstances in which the Gallery determines that a loan would allow the Gallery to enhance the value of the collection and meet the objective of this policy. In these circumstances, the basis of this decision will be minuted by the Acquisitions and Loans Committee and approved by the Board of Trustees.

The Gallery will negotiate and manage outgoing loans on terms that are ethical, honourable, responsible and transparent to public scrutiny, thereby maintaining its standing and reputation for excellence with the general public and the museum community, both nationally and internationally.

The Gallery will manage the outgoing loans program in a sustainable, responsible and resourceful manner, including:
a. the strategic use of human, material and financial resources
b. the consideration of Gallery priorities and commitments, including but not limited to the exhibition program, as part of the assessment and approval of outgoing loan requests
c. the strategic management of risks.

In negotiating and managing outgoing loans, the Gallery will seek to control and mitigate the risk of physical deterioration or damage, theft, loss, or seizure of the artwork, or of civil or criminal proceedings or any other act, omission or circumstance that would compromise the Gallery’s collection or position and reputation for integrity in public administration.

6.2 Outgoing loans to cultural institutions

Requests to borrow works from the collection must be received in writing 12 months prior to the opening date of the exhibition or other purpose for which the loan is requested. Loan requests received outside this notice period may be considered and approved on a case-by-case basis. In these circumstances, the borrower must agree to cover any additional costs incurred in order to facilitate the loan.

The Gallery will lend works for fixed periods and to agreed venues only. Outgoing loans may be renewed, extended or varied by mutual consent of all parties. In the event that outgoing loans are extended for a period exceeding two years, the Gallery will conduct inventories of the work(s) on loan in accordance with the Collection Stocktake Policy and Procedures.

The Gallery does not impose fees on outgoing loans to cultural institutions. However, in the absence of any separate agreement or memorandum of understanding, borrowers must agree to cover all costs associated with the loan, including but not limited to packing, transport, customs arrangements, courier costs and insurance.

The Gallery does impose fees for the touring exhibition program and these are managed most often on a cost-share basis between participating venues.

All loans must be fully indemnified against all risks and copies of the borrower’s insurance policy must be approved by the Gallery before the works will be released.

Where not already negotiated as a touring exhibition coordinated by the Gallery, in the event that the artworks comprising the loan request constitute over 50% of the content or value of the borrower’s exhibition, the Gallery may request to be credited as a joint partner and to contribute to decision-making about the display and interpretation of its collection. In such instances, the Gallery also reserves the right to impose an exhibition fee to cover costs associated with the development and preparation of the exhibition. Additional accreditations may be negotiated on a case-by-case basis depending on the nature of works lent.

Should a loan request be withdrawn or cancelled by the borrower prior to the commencement or expiration of the loan period, the Gallery reserves the right to charge the borrower for any material costs incurred in the preparation and processing of the loan to the date of cancellation.

The Gallery will not permit borrowers to assign or transfer any of its rights, powers or obligations to a third party under a sub-bailment, or substitutional bailment arrangement or to transfer possession of the work to a third party without the Gallery’s prior consent.
Where available within the borrower’s jurisdiction and not otherwise negotiated and agreed by the Gallery, the borrower must undertake to ensure that immunity from seizure and/or other legal intervention is secured and operative prior to the commencement and throughout the duration of the loan period until the work is returned to the Gallery.

6.3 Furnishing collection loans

The Gallery will make a curated selection of works, known as the furnishing collection, available for loan to NSW Parliament House, Government House and ministerial offices. The deputy director will approve the list of works included in the furnishing collection, on the advice of curatorial and conservation staff. Artworks in the furnishing collection are valued at $250,000 or less. In exceptional circumstances works of a value greater than $250,000 will be considered and the decision made by the Acquisitions and Loans Committee will be minuted.

Requests to borrow works from the furnishing collection must be received in writing from NSW ministerial offices, Government House, Parliament House or others.

The Gallery will conduct a site inspection and assessment of the location in which the requested work is proposed to be displayed and may conduct further site inspections throughout the duration of the loan period. The Gallery will conduct inventories of works on loan in accordance with the Collection Stocktake Policy and Procedures.

The borrower must agree to pay the loan fee imposed by the Gallery to cover the cost of preparation, delivery and installation of the work. The borrower must also agree to cover any additional costs that arise in association with the loan. If the borrower cancels the loan, material costs and labour costs incurred in the preparation of the loan will be charged to the borrower.

The Gallery will lend works for a fixed period of two years (renewable) but not exceeding four years for specified venues only, agreed to by all parties and documented in the furnishing loan agreement. On return from furnishing loans, paintings will be rested before being lent out again. Furnishing collection loans may be renewed, extended or varied by mutual consent of all parties.

In accordance with the conditions of the furnishing loan agreement, works may be recalled from furnishing collection loans for display, study or conservation by the Gallery, or for loan to a museum or gallery.

6.4 Outgoing loans for other purposes

Loans for other purposes will be assessed on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the principles, objectives and criteria for assessment outlined in this policy.

6.5 Factors to be considered in the assessment of outgoing loans

6.5.1 The artwork and Gallery priorities

In assessing requests to borrow artworks from the collection, the Gallery will have regard to:
a. the availability of the artwork, including any commitments to current or planned Gallery programs and schedules, or prior commitments to other borrowers
b. any restrictions imposed on outgoing loan or display under the terms of the acquisition or by virtue of the nature of the work and its installation or production requirements, including Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander artworks to which access is restricted or community concerns have been identified, in accordance with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Policy
c. the condition of the work, including but not limited to its ability to travel and the impact of handling, installation, light exposure and environmental conditions on the work
d. the provenance of the artwork, in accordance with the Provenance and Due Diligence Research Policy
e. the adequacy of the timeline and available resources required to prepare the loan.

6.5.2 The borrower and purpose for the loan

In addition, the Gallery will consider the following factors in assessing loan requests:
a. the type and reliability of the borrower and its legal and financial situation
b. the scholarly, artistic or educational value of the exhibition or display concept and its feasibility, including consideration of whether the exhibition includes works that are known to have been stolen, illegally exported or illegally excavated
c. the adequacy and appropriateness of the borrower’s facilities and the ability of the borrower to meet and maintain facility, environmental and security requirements in accordance with the Collection Management Policy and the terms of the outgoing loan agreement, furnishing loan agreement or exhibition touring contract throughout the loan period
d. the availability of appropriate staff and any sub-contractors at the borrowing institution in order to administer, manage and oversee the loan and comply with the terms of the outgoing loan agreement throughout the loan period
e. the political and financial stability of the country or region in which the loans will reside.

6.5.3 Additional requirements

The Gallery has specific requirements regarding the following matters:
a. use of Gallery approved couriers during transport and/or installation and de-installation
b. insurance arrangements
c. copyright and image reproduction
d. packing and transport arrangements
e. display and installation requirements
f. conservation treatment or other intervention into the artwork
g. removal of the work from display
h. notification of incidents impacting the loaned works
i. display and storage facilities and security and environmental parameters
j. termination of the agreement
k. acknowledgement of the loan by the lender

Details of the Gallery’s requirements are set out in the outgoing loan agreement, furnishing loan agreement or exhibition touring contract. Additional documentation or evidence of compliance with these matters may be sought in accordance with established procedures.

Requests to include works of art in an exhibition tour comprising multiple venues coordinated by another party will be assessed by the curator, head curator, senior registrar and head of conservation with final approval sought from the Board of Trustees via the endorsement of the Acquisitions and Loans Committee. In the event that such loans are approved, the Gallery may impose additional requirements for couriers in transit between venues and periodic condition assessment of the artworks during the tour by appropriately qualified professionals approved by the Gallery.

In the event that a loan period is extended beyond the original term, the insurance valuations for artworks may be reviewed and updated. Amendments to insurance arrangements undertaken by the borrower must be made to the Gallery’s satisfaction.

6.5.3.1 Couriers

The Gallery may require that an artwork be accompanied in transit and/or installed and de-installed and condition-checked by a qualified person nominated or approved by the Gallery.

In determining requirements for and selection of a courier, the Gallery will consider:
a. the significance and fragility of the artwork(s)
b. any specific handling or installation requirements
c. the available staffing and contractor arrangements at the borrowing venue(s)
d. the number of works comprising the consignment(s)
e. the value of individual artworks (of or above $1,000,000) and the overall consignment(s)
f. transport and other security arrangements in place.

The courier may be a Gallery employee, or another person approved by the Gallery. Couriers will be appropriately qualified and experienced in art handling and transport procedures.

Courier selections will be approved by the deputy director on the basis of recommendations by the senior registrar, head of conservation and head curator.

6.6 Approval of outgoing loans

All outgoing loan requests will be reviewed by the appropriate collection curator, head curator, conservator and the senior registrar in accordance with the terms of this policy. Recommendations for the approval of loan requests will be made in accordance with established procedures.

Outgoing loan requests are considered by the Acquisitions and Loans Committee and recommended for endorsement by the Board of Trustees. The director has delegated authority to approve outgoing loans in which all works comprising the loan are individually valued within established delegation limits. A summary of artworks approved for outgoing loan under the director’s delegation will be submitted to the subsequent scheduled Acquisitions and Loans Committee meeting for noting.

The recommendations of the Acquisitions and Loans Committee, including summary listings of works approved under the director’s delegation will be minuted and ratified at the subsequent meeting of the Board of Trustees.

The grounds for approval of any outgoing loan request that do not accord with the terms outlined in this policy will be minuted by the Acquisitions and Loans Committee and ratified at the subsequent meeting of the Board of Trustees.

6.7 Formalising approved outgoing loans – loan agreements

Loans will be concluded using the Gallery’s outgoing loan agreement, furnishing loan agreement or exhibition touring contract, amended by special negotiation when so required. Outgoing loan agreements are approved and endorsed under the delegated authority of the director by the head curator and counter-signed by a witness. Exhibition touring contracts are approved and endorsed under the delegated authority of the director by the head of exhibitions and in consultation with the deputy director.

Works will not be released on loan until the outgoing loan agreement or exhibition touring contract has been completed and signed by both parties.

6.8 Transparency and accountability

6.8.1 Publication of outgoing loans

The director will ensure that a list of all outgoing loans is published in the Gallery’s annual report.

6.8.2 Record keeping

In accordance with the Record Keeping Policy and established procedures, staff will maintain records (paper based and/or electronic) for each outgoing loan, including outgoing loan requests that are not approved, documenting relevant information and decision-making.

6.8.3 Internal audit and review cycle

The director will ensure that compliance with this policy is assessed as part of the Gallery’s audit program. The policy will be reviewed by the Board of Trustees on a regular basis in accordance with the Gallery’s audit program.

6.8.4 Staff obligations

Gallery staff involved in the assessment, approval and administration of outgoing loans are bound by the Gallery’s Code of Ethics and Conduct and other relevant Gallery policies, including but not limited to the Conflict of Interest Policy, Gifts and Benefits Policy, Fraud Control Policy and Record Keeping Policy.

7. Responsibilities and compliance

7.1 Art Gallery of New South Wales Board of Trustees and Acquisitions and Loans Sub Committee

The Board of Trustees is responsible for approving the loan of artworks, either directly or by delegation to the director subject to cases where ministerial approval is required.

The Acquisitions and Loans Committee is responsible for monitoring and reviewing all aspects of the loans processes of the Gallery and making recommendations to the trustees in this regard.

7.2 Executive and staff

The director and deputy director are responsible for ensuring that the process and documentation relating to loans conform to all Gallery policies and that Gallery staff understand and comply with the policies.

8. Related documents, legislation and useful links

8.1 Gallery policies

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Policy
  • Collection Management Policy 2019 (in review)
  • Collection Stocktake Policy and Procedures
  • Conflict of Interest Policy
  • Fraud Control Policy
  • Gifts and Benefits Policy
  • Provenance and Due Diligence Policy
  • Record Keeping Policy

8.2 Guidelines, procedures and associated documents

8.2.1 Gallery guidelines, procedures and associated documents

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Procedures
  • Acquisitions and Loans Committee Charter
  • Code of Ethics and Conduct
  • Furnishing Collection Loan Procedures
  • Provenance and Due Diligence Research Procedures
  • Risk Management – Statement of Intent

8.2.2 National and international guidelines, procedures and associated documents

  • Bizot Group, Loans guidelines, 18 December 2009
  • Bizot Group, Courier guidelines, September 2008
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), 1973, as amended 1979 and 1983
  • UNESCO, The Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, 1954, First Protocol, 1954 and Second Protocol, 1999
  • ICOM, Code of Ethics for Museums, 2017
  • Museums Australia, Code of Ethics, 1999 (under review)
  • Pacific Islands Museums Association, Code of Ethics for Pacific Museums and Cultural Centres, 2006
  • Unidroit, Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects, 1995
  • UNESCO, Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, 1970

8.3 Legislation

8.3.1 Commonwealth of Australia

  • Crimes Act 1914
  • Customs Act 1901
  • Personal Properties Securities Act 2009
  • Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Act 1986
  • Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage Regulation 2018
  • Biosecurity Act 2015
  • Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

8.3.2 New South Wales

  • Art Gallery of New South Wales Act 1980
  • Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009
  • Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998
  • Public Finance and Audit Act 1983. Parts that remain to be renamed Government Sector Audit Act 1983
  • Public Finance and Audit Regulation 2015
  • Government Sector Finance Act 2018
  • State Records Act 1998

This policy is also informed by the traditions and precedents set since the establishment of the Gallery.