In accordance with the National Gallery of Australia’s policies and procedures, before acquiring a work of art or entering into any loan arrangement the Gallery conducts background research to ensure that it is operating on terms that are legal, ethical and transparent to public scrutiny.
As part of this commitment, the Gallery invites people to make contact if they have a concern about a work that the Gallery owns, has borrowed, or is about to borrow. Please contact us if you:
- wish to make a claim (such as an ownership claim) over such a work;
- have any questions or information about such a work; or
- want further information about such a work’s ownership or provenance.
Works borrowed from overseas will usually be subject to the provisions of the Commonwealth Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013 which generally prevents an item from being seized, forfeited or subject to a suit while it is in Australia. These conditions for inward loans apply to the Gallery because it is an approved borrowing institution under the Act. The Act was established by the Government to encourage international lenders to loan their works for temporary public exhibition in Australia.
Further information about the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act and Scheme can be found on the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications website.
To ensure transparency and accountability, works that the Gallery borrows from overseas that are subject to the Act are published here.
If you wish to make a claim or enquiry, or if you want additional information about a work, you will need to provide us with the following in writing:
- your name, address and contact details;
- if you are making a claim or enquiry on behalf of someone else, that person’s name, contact details and their relationship to you;
- a short summary of the claim to the work;
- copies of any documents or other evidence that may be relevant to the claim or enquiry;
and, for works the Gallery has borrowed or is borrowing:
- a statement confirming that you are aware that the Gallery may inform the lender of the request and supply them with information on the claim.
The Gallery will give serious consideration to each enquiry and claim it receives in relation to a work.
In determining whether an enquiry or claim in relation to a work is justified, the Gallery may consider (without limitation):
- the documentation and evidence you provide;
- if you are known to the Gallery and whether you have already made the same or a similar claim in another country; and
- the work’s known provenance and history, including how the work left the custody of any relevant individual or community and the circumstances in which it was exported from its country of origin. This encompasses Australian, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, cultural material in overseas collections.
This consideration may include consultation with relevant individuals or communities as well as the lender or previous owners of the work in question.
If the Gallery is satisfied about the nature and circumstances of the request for information or that claim, the Gallery will provide you with information on the provenance and due diligence procedures it followed. Such research will have been in accordance with the policies and procedures of the Gallery.
Where the additional information for works borrowed from overseas and subject to the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013 has already been published on the Gallery’s website, we will direct you to the exact website address for that information.
Please note that the Gallery retains the right not to disclose any of the above if the Gallery determines that it is not, in all the circumstances, appropriate for it to do so.
The Gallery will acknowledge your enquiry or claim within ten business days of receipt and respond fully within four weeks of receipt. If this is not possible, an update specifying the likely timeframe for resolution will be provided as soon as possible.
To assist in a prompt response, please make sure you provide all the details that the Gallery will likely need to assess your claim and to accurately identify any information you have requested.
For works in the collection:
If the Gallery determines that you have a legitimate claim in relation to a work of art in the collection then it will proceed with administering the claim in accordance with its policies and procedures as well as national and state legislation.
For works on loan from within Australia:
If the Gallery determines that you have a legitimate claim in relation to a work of art on loan from another institution it will provide details of the claim to the lender and support the administering of the claim in accordance with its policies and procedures as well as national and state legislation.
For works borrowed from overseas:
If the Gallery determines that you have a legitimate claim in relation to a work of art before that work is imported into Australia, the Gallery will assess whether or not it is appropriate, in all the circumstances, to continue with the loan. In making that assessment, the Gallery will have full regard to its due diligence and provenance standards, as set out in the Due Diligence and Provenance Policy and Inward Loans Policy.
Please note that once a work has been imported into Australia on loan from overseas, your ability to take legal action in relation to that work in Australia may be limited by the provisions of the Protection of Cultural Objects on Loan Act 2013. For information on the Act, see http://arts.gov.au/collections/protection-of-loans.
Please be aware that under the terms of the Act, the Gallery is required to report any claims made on works borrowed from overseas which are protected by the Act to the Minister for the Arts.
If you want to make a claim or enquiry in relation to a work of art that the Gallery has borrowed or holds in its collection, please address your enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more detailed information and related policies see: