The Permanent Art Collection of Davidson College serves as a research center by offering students and members of the Davidson community an opportunity to interact with more than 3,200 works of art. Works from the collection are also loaned to other regional, national, and international art institutions for inclusion in thematic exhibitions and/or individual retrospectives.
The Permanent Art Collection ("collection") refers to those works of art managed by the staff of the Van Every/Smith Galleries. Most works are stored in one of two secure, climate controlled storage spaces. They are denoted with a "DC-number" that appears in pencil on the verso of the work and also the frame (where applicable).
Duplicate works are defined as multiple or redundant copies by the same artist within the collection. Such works may be works on paper (photography, digital prints, various intaglio processes, etc.), castings, multiples, artist books, and other media.
The primary purpose of the collection is to support the academic mission of the college, enrich the curriculum, and serve as a resource for student and faculty research. Its goal is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the art of a variety of periods and cultures for the education and enrichment of Davidson College students, faculty, and the broader Davidson community. In forming the collection, the college seeks works of art that will play a fundamental role in the pedagogical life of Davidson College, and places a strong emphasis on works that relate to the curriculum of the college.
Responsibility for overseeing the acquisitions process is shared by the director of the Van Every/Smith Galleries and the Art Department's Gallery Advisory Committee, in accordance with the policies and procedures set forth in this document. In determining whether to acquire a particular work, the Director also may consult with the Art Collection Advisory Committee (ACAC) or faculty members with relevant expertise.
Acquisitions may be made through gift, bequest, purchase, or exchange. New acquisitions should further the mission and collecting goals of the collection. The college is under no obligation to accept bequests or gifts offered to it. The ollege may practice selective acquisition, which means the college may choose only to accept certain works that are part of a large group donation and reject others that do not conform to the collection's acquisition standards.
The college will consider donations of works of art for the sole purpose of eventual sale, in the same way that it receives real property and other items of value. Such items will not be considered as objects in the collection, though all of the guidelines and procedures specified in this Art and Antiquities Collections Management Policy apply to such items. The college is dedicated to the lawful collection, legitimate trade, and scholarly research of works of art and antiquities. The college supports the spirit and intent of the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illegal Import, Export, and Transfer of Cultural Property of November 14, 1970. The college shall not knowingly or willfully accept or acquire works that have been unlawfully removed from archaeological sites, stolen from public or private collections, exported from their country of modern discovery in contravention of that country's laws, or otherwise imported into the United States in contravention of any State or Federal laws. (See Section 4, Acquisition Procedures)
In support of the spirit and intent of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD) guidelines on acquisitions of art that was stolen, looted, or otherwise changed hands illegally during the Nazi era, the college will take due diligence toward not knowingly or willingly acquiring a work that was unlawfully appropriated during the Nazi era without subsequent restitution.
The college shall not knowingly or willfully accept or acquire works that do not adhere to "The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act," Public Law 101-601 (NAGPRA). Under NAGPRA, museums and institutions of higher education are obligated to inventory and summarize all human remains, associated funerary objects, unassociated funerary objects, sacred objects and cultural patrimony. If such objects are held by the collection, the college is required to return the objects to the appropriate tribe, if indeed the tribe desires their return.
The Gallery Director, in consultation with the Gallery Advisory Committee, makes final decisions on acquisitions. Additions to the collection should be made only after careful evaluation based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:
The college shall not authenticate, evaluate, grade, or appraise donations for donors. Donors shall be responsible for obtaining and paying for independent, qualified appraisals for tax purposes, pursuant to applicable IRS guidelines. The college assumes no responsibility for the appraisers.
Prior to acquisition of a work, the Director of the Van Every/Smith Galleries shall conduct reasonable independent research and make reasonable efforts to gather from sellers or donors all available information and proper written documentation regarding the provenance, including but not limited to publication history, exhibition history, and representations and warranties of good title. Where appropriate, the Director shall request evidence or documentation from sellers and donors that the works were legally exported from their country of modern discovery and legally imported into the United States. All materials obtained in connection with any acquisition shall be maintained in the collection's records.
The college recognizes that even after research, some works of art or antiquities may lack a complete ownership or provenance history. In the absence of conclusive evidence that the item was stolen, illegally exported, or illegally imported, the college shall make a carefully considered decision as to whether the item may be acquired. If the college decides to acquire the work, it shall publish information regarding the acquisition on its web site and conduct ongoing provenance research for the work as appropriate. Should the college determine that there is convincing evidence that the item was unlawfully acquired, imported, or exported, the college shall seek to resolve the matter in an equitable, appropriate, and mutually agreeable manner for all concerned parties.
The authority for deaccessioning of works from the collection rests with the Director of the Van Every/Smith Galleries upon approval from the Gallery Advisory Committee. Additional advice may be sought from the Art Collection Advisory Committee (ACAC).
On occasion, a work may be identified for deaccession by the Gallery Director with the guidance of the Gallery Advisory Committee. Each object must be carefully and individually evaluated. The committee will take the necessary steps to consider appropriate criteria including:
If the work proposed for deaccession has been given to Davidson College, a reasonable attempt will be made to contact the donor(s) to advise them of the action. New works purchased with proceeds from the sale of donated or bequeathed works will be credited to the original donor.
The staff of the Van Every/Smith Galleries will maintain records on all works deaccessioned from the Collection. Files will contain all papers regarding the deaccession of the work as well as all original accession papers and photographs.
Last Reviewed: March 2016