The Corporation yesterday approved the Bond Report which calls for Harvard to "join with other responsible institutions and collectors in an effort to eliminate or at least diminish the power of the black market" in acquisitions of artworks and antiquities.
By adopting this acquisition policy. Harvard has taken the strongest position of any American institution against the looting, illicit commerce and buying of "hot" art treasures. The only other institution to make a formal statement on art collecting policy was the University of Pennsylvania, which in April 1970 demanded that all purchases have a pedigree. Gifts, loan exhibitions as well as purchases, are all acquisitions under the jurisdiction of Harvard's new policy.
The report, originally presented by committee to President Pusey in spring 1971, consists of seven points. The points require an assurance of valid title for the object and an assurance that it was not illegally exported (in violation of a country's export laws after July 1, 1971). All information concerning previous ownership (object's the provenance) will be made public.
If a curator finds it necessary, a special panel will be set up to determine an object's rightful ownership. Harvard will make efforts to return any object to a foreign country that is found to be a part of a national patrimony or otherwise an illegal export.
"The only solution is the expert knowledge on the part of the curators when it comes down to acquiring objects." William H. Bond, Librarian of Houghton Library and chairman of Harvard's ad hoc committee on art acquisitions, said