The Ministry of Culture and Communication, through its online publication, makes public the activity report for 2010 that the commission of proofing of the deposits of works of art of the State (CRDOA) adopted last July.
Created in 1996 following a report by the Court of Auditors which noted the insufficient rigour of the monitoring of deposits for two centuries, the CRDOA is. presided since 2009 by Jacques Sallois, Honorary Chamber President at the Court of Auditors.
It shall ensure that the works deposited by the national museums, the Centre National des Arts Plastiques, the Mobilier National and the Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique are checked on the spot, to the benefit of museums, historical monuments, national palaces, administrative buildings, parliamentary assemblies or diplomatic representations abroad. Since May 2007, the committee’s scope of intervention has been extended to include deposits made by the ministries in charge of foreign affairs, justice, home affairs, defence, economy and finance, national education, and museums under these ministries.
Even for institutions under the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the operations proved to be longer and more difficult than expected due in particular to the imperfection of the old inventories. The total number of works to be harvested by these institutions, which was estimated at about 305,000 in 2008, has increased to 435,000 in 2010. As a result, despite the efforts, the number of works still to be harvested has itself increased during the period. The seniority of many deposits and their dispersion, both at home and abroad, contribute to the difficulty of the exercise.
At the end of the additional research that it asks the depositaries, the committee examines the follow-up to be given when the works have not been seen. The lack of available information leads it to classify a large number of files without removing the responsibility of depositaries. At his request, complaints can be filed (28 in 2010, nearly a thousand since 1996). Finally, where their liability is clearly committed, depositaries may be required to compensate depositors if the commission decides to issue collection securities.
Beyond the treatment of disappearances, it is necessary to emphasize the scientific and cultural importance of the proofing of repositories whose dynamic approach contributes to the knowledge of public collections, the development of scientific and historical heritage research and the dissemination of collections on online databases.