Inside Deutsche Bank’s Massive 57,000-Piece Art Collection

A Deutsche Bank bear sculpture.
Photo: Adam Lederer, Flickr.

Business Insider talks to Liz Christensen, an art curator at Deutsche Bank, who started out 25 years ago as an independent art adviser. Now she is involved with all aspects of the bank’s art activities—from advising, collecting, education, and exhibitions. The bank has 57,000 works in its collection, spread across 900 offices, and a staff of 8 curators worldwide.

The collection is distributed throughout the bank’s buildings, from elevator lobbies to reception desks to conference rooms. All works are clearly labeled. Some highlights mentioned or shown in the piece include: photographs by Japanese artist Tokihiro Sato, Shirakami #1, #3, #5, and #7 (2008); Vik Muniz’s diamond dust portrait of Marlene Dietrich (2004); Hans Finsler’s Brücke (1928); Evan Hecox’s Mass Movement (2009); Gerhard Richter’s massive Abstraktes Bild (Faust) (1980); Christo’s preparatory sketches for The Gates, Project for Central Park, NYC (2003); Jennie C. Jones’s Song Containers (2010); Juhyan Park’s Manhattan (2008); and a suite of untitled works from 2000 by James Nares.

Some other interesting facts: The bank only buys art on the primary market as opposed to buying at auction; there is a focus on living artists “in order to support the economy of art”; the notion of ideas is a key driver of the collection, so curators focus on conceptual work rather than decorative art; the bank rarely sells artwork; and in cases where art is valuable and is sold, the money goes back into its acquisition fund for buying new art. Lastly, the collection is run off an operational budget which differs depending on branch and region and changes from year to year.

As Christensen tells Businsess Insider, the bank “considers art as part of its identity. Supporting art as a creative endeavor is an important part of being a good corporate citizen.”

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