BANKING ON ART
The rst notable occurrence of banks collecting art was observed in Italy during the 1300’s when a banker commissioned a chapel containing religious artworks to atone for the sins of the family that had gained their wealth as bankers, at a time when money-lending with interest was regarded as sinful by Christians.
By the 15th century, the concept of patronage had evolved from atoning for one’s sins to elevating one’s status. To illustrate, artworks funded by gains from the prosperous Medici Bank became a means to help the Medici family gain public prominence, power and eventually noble status.
The corporation with the largest art collection happens to be Deutsche Bank, Germany. Started over three decades ago, the art collection of 56,000 works by around 5,000 artists, concentrates on the medium of paper. Almost 90 per cent of art works in the collection are on view in over 900 Deutsche Bank locations worldwide, in exhibitions or on loan to 28 museums. Amongst the oldest, the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection began in 1959 when David Rockefeller, the then president of The Chase Manhattan Bank, established the rm’s art programme. He integrated artwork with the architecture of buildings.
The UBS, Switzerland too has a rich history of actively collecting art and supporting artistic endeavours. The bank’s impressive collection of over 35,000 objects includes thousands of contemporary works as well as some of the most important artists of the last 50 years. Its art programme includes a global partnership with the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation as well as commitments to the international art fairs such as Art Basel, Art Basel Miami Beach and Art Basel Hong Kong. Museum loan programmes, exhibitions, educational programming, philanthropic and sponsorship activities; banks are literally leaving no stone unturned in giving art its due.
David Rockefeller incorporated a unique approach to acquisitions, which became a model for other companies worldwide
A collection of artworks at Deutsche Bank