With nearly 60,000 artworks spread across 40 countries and 900 offices, Deutsche Bank's Art Works is the biggest collection of corporate art in the world.
The German investment bank's global art program was launched in the late 1970s and has since become an integral part of Deutsche Bank's values.
The bank's 'Art Works' collection includes works on paper, photographs, canvases, sculptures and video installations displayed in several bank offices. In addition, Deutsche Bank also enables access to contemporary art in five permanent exhibition spaces in Frankfurt, London, New York, Tokyo and Milan, each with its own philosophy.
But what is the driving force behind this artistic enterprise? Why are Deutsche Bank and other industry titans like J.P. Morgan or UBS (according to a 2016 Forbes magazine article, the UBS art collection amounts to 35,000 works) putting such an emphasis on corporate art?
Deutsche Bank said it: Art works. Art fosters innovation. Art is an intellectual asset which has a positive influence on employees. Art sparks conversations and promotes critical thinking. Art helps support local and emerging artists.
When located in high-traffic common areas like lift lobbies and reception areas, art can also convey a message and give businesses a competitive advantage. It can impress customers and boost sales all the while bringing something new to the table.
Deutsche Bank even has an interactive app which gives employees more information about the works they are looking as well as an “Arthothek”, a place where people can seek expert advice on choosing artwork for the workplace. The bank also hosts talks by artists and curates an online contemporary art magazine, ArtMag.
To further support the art economy and promote contemporary artists, Deutsche Bank also elects an "Artist of the Year". The award is given on the recommendation of the Deutsche Bank Global Art Advisory Council which consists of renowned curators Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann, and Victoria Noorthoorn.
This year, South African artist Kemang Wa Lehulere is Deutsche Bank's new "Artist of the Year" 2017. He will present his first institutional solo exhibition in Germany at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin in spring 2017.
Aside from its aesthetic appeal, corporate art makes sounds business sense too. To quote Alex Heath, managing director at International Art Consultants: