Object Acquisition and Loan

Table of Contents


Introduction

The majority of recorded provenance events are when the object changes ownership, and the various methods in which that happens.

Object Acquisition

The transfer of ownership from (transferred_title_from) one owner to (transferred_title_to) the next, starting with the artist as defacto first owner to the person or organization who owns it next. The object itself is the value of the transferred_title_of relationship. The ownership chain can then be expressed by repeating this same pattern of transferring title from the current owner to the next.

If the previous or next owner is unknown, then the respective relationship can be omitted from the event. For example, if it is known that the object was sold between 1806 and 1809, but not to whom it was sold, this can be expresed by omitting transferred_title_to from the description.

This pattern does not express any further detail about how the acquisition took place, just that the object's ownership was transferred. For more detailed models of acquisition, the following sections include additional information.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/22", 
  "type": "Acquisition", 
  "took_place_at": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/place/9", 
      "type": "Place", 
      "label": "Art Gallery"
    }
  ], 
  "transferred_title_from": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/actor/4", 
    "type": "Actor", 
    "label": "Seller"
  }, 
  "timespan": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/time/11", 
    "type": "TimeSpan", 
    "label": "When", 
    "end_of_the_end": "1890-01-05T00:00:00Z", 
    "begin_of_the_begin": "1890-01-04T00:00:00Z"
  }, 
  "transferred_title_of": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/object/63", 
      "type": "ManMadeObject", 
      "label": "Example Sculpture", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300047090","aat:300133025"]
    }
  ], 
  "transferred_title_to": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/actor/5", 
    "type": "Actor", 
    "label": "Buyer"
  }
}

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Purchase

A purchase is a common type of acquisition in which money is exchanged for the object. The main activity is the transfer of the title for the object from the seller to the buyer, exactly as for any Acquisition. The activity then consists of one or more related payments, without which the purchase would not be concluded. This typically involves a payment from the seller to the buyer for the agreed upon price, but might include payments to or from others such as for shared ownership or payment of debts owed.

The Payment activity has equivalent relationships for from (paid_from) and to (paid_to), as well as the amount of money paid (paid_amount). The amount itself is a resource that has a value (value) and a currency (currency). In the simple case, where the amount the object was offered for sale at (offering_price) is the same as it was sold for (sales_price) and there was a single transfer of money, for that amount. However, these values might be different if in certain circumstances and are hence modeled separately. The Acquisition also has the aat classification of "purchasing" (aat:300077989) to ensure that even if there are no payments explicitly modeled, then it can still be distinguished from other types of acquisition such as inheritance or gifts.

Diachronic Comparison of Monetary Amounts

The CIDOC-CRM SIG have clarified that the MonetaryAmount refers to the face value of the combination of value and currency. This means that any comparison between MonetaryAmount instances should also take into account the datetimes of resources that reference it, rather than standing alone. Further, it is still unclear if the same MonetaryAmount can be used for all occurences of value and currency, or whether there is something more unique than that.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/23", 
  "type": "Acquisition", 
  "classified_as": ["aat:300077989"], 
  "transferred_title_from": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/actor/6", 
    "type": "Actor", 
    "label": "Seller"
  }, 
  "consists_of": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/24", 
      "type": "Payment", 
      "paid_amount": {
        "id": "https://linked.art/example/money/0", 
        "type": "MonetaryAmount", 
        "value": 100, 
        "currency": "https://linked.art/example/money/1"
      }, 
      "paid_from": "https://linked.art/example/actor/7", 
      "paid_to": "https://linked.art/example/actor/6"
    }
  ], 
  "transferred_title_of": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/object/64", 
      "type": "ManMadeObject", 
      "label": "Example Painting", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300033618","aat:300133025"]
    }
  ], 
  "transferred_title_to": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/actor/7", 
    "type": "Actor", 
    "label": "Buyer"
  }
}

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Auctions

The individual purchase that is the result of auctioning an object is the same as the above model. The auction event itself however is important for understanding the provenance of the object, and is described in more detail here.

Transfer of Custody

The model makes a distinction between the transfer of legal ownership (e.g. by sale or gift) and the transfer of custody (e.g. by losing the object, loaning it for an exhibition, or having it stolen). If the possession of the object is either illegal or temporary, such that the object would be given back to the real owner at the end of that possession without what might be considered a sale or exchange, then it is a transfer of custody only.

Transfers of custody use a different class, TransferOfCustody instead of Acquisition. The properties that capture the parties and object involved are also different, although equivalent, to those of Acquisition: transferred_custody_of the object, transferred_custody_from the previous custodian, and transferred_custody_to the new custodian.

Exhibitions

Exhibitions are a common way that the custody of an object changes, while the ownership remains the same. Exhibitions are described in more detail here.

Loss

The loss of an object is the transfer of custody away from its current owner, without stating a recipient. In the future, if the object is discovered, the recipient might be able to be filled in. If the object is then returned to the owner, there would be the reverse transfer of custody from the party that found it. It might be that the owner simply loses track of it, and although it is still in their possession, they are not aware of it ... it has no custodian.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/25", 
  "type": "TransferOfCustody", 
  "transferred_custody_from": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/20", 
    "type": "Person", 
    "label": "Previous Owner"
  }, 
  "timespan": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/time/12", 
    "type": "TimeSpan", 
    "label": "Time noticed as Lost", 
    "end_of_the_end": "1790-12-05T00:00:00Z", 
    "begin_of_the_begin": "1790-12-04T00:00:00Z"
  }, 
  "transferred_custody_of": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/object/65", 
      "type": "ManMadeObject", 
      "label": "Example Lost Painting", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300033618","aat:300133025"]
    }
  ]
}

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Theft

Objects can change hands illegally with the activity being performed by the recipient of the object, such as theft (aat:300055292) or looting. This is not an Acquisition or transfer of ownership, as the legal owner does not change. If the object were to be recovered, it would be returned to the owner.

{
  "@context": "https://linked.art/ns/v1/linked-art.json", 
  "id": "https://linked.art/example/activity/26", 
  "type": "TransferOfCustody", 
  "label": "Theft of Painting", 
  "transferred_custody_to": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/22", 
    "type": "Person", 
    "label": "Unknown Thief"
  }, 
  "classified_as": ["aat:300055292"], 
  "transferred_custody_from": {
    "id": "https://linked.art/example/person/21", 
    "type": "Person", 
    "label": "Owner"
  }, 
  "transferred_custody_of": [
    {
      "id": "https://linked.art/example/object/66", 
      "type": "ManMadeObject", 
      "label": "Example Stolen Painting", 
      "classified_as": ["aat:300033618","aat:300133025"]
    }
  ]
}

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Sale of Stolen Items

A concern with this model (which strictly follows CIDOC-CRM) is that if an object is stolen and only custody transferred, and the object is subsequently sold (illegally) by the thief, then the thief cannot transfer ownership, only further custody in exchange for payment. If the stolen and fenced object were recovered, it would still go back to the real owner. Which is okay, if it is known that the object was stolen. If not, then the data would incorrectly record it as a sale, which is an Acquisition (a transfer of ownership, not custody). In a distributed environment, where different data sources contribute to the overall provenance record, aggregating systems should be aware of this possibility and not accept the custody/ownership distinction without consideration of prior events.