7 reasons why you should start a corporate art collection

There is a reason why larger businesses have a corporate art collection. From financial benefits to marketing opportunities, art in the workplace can go a long way. 

Corporate art collections are hardly a new concept. It all started with banker and philanthropist David Rockefeller, the father of modern corporate art collecting. In the late 1950s, Rockefeller decided that longtime family-associated Chase Manhattan Bank should start acquiring art. 

Rockefeller began a trend where art transcended decoration and became a means of communication with the public. Today, the JPMorgan Chase Art collection is one of the oldest and largest corporate art collections in the world.

JP Morgan corporate art collection
J.P Morgan Chase Art Collection. Credit: Paris Photo

The list of financial institutions with an impressive corporate art collection also includes Deutsche Bank, UBS and Bank of America.

Why are such industry giants investing in corporate art? The reasons are manifold.

1. Investment in culture

Businesses may get involved in an art program by sponsoring or commissioning art. Companies can also organise art events to engage with new target audiences and get closer to customers and the community in general.

2. Strong company image

Art increases the corporate image among the public as well as its stakeholders. It conveys vision and drive. Having art, particularly modern art, implies a forward-thinking corporation with a positive attitude.

Duchy of Lancaster corporate art collection
Duchy of Lancaster, corporate art collection. Credit: Workplace Art

3. Boosting sales

 Companies that have art in the workplace are perceived as influential, sophisticated and trustworthy. To put it differently, a corporate art collection is bound to impress customers, which in turn, will lead to an increase in sales.

4. Business competitive advantage

Business companies, especially financial institutions like Deutsche Bank, can put their art knowledge to good use and offer art 'buy and sell' consultancy services to their customers.

microsoft art collection
Katz Frey, Microsoft Art Collection. Credit: Michael Klein Arts

5. Corporate hospitality

Art in the workplace lightens the mood. It creates a nice work environment, peppered with personality and, if the genre suits the business, humour.

6. Supporting the art community

By investing in art, whether it be local or international, companies are openly supporting the community. Businesses with limited budgets can start with the works of younger, less-established artists. Conversely, bigger companies can and should start big, then choose newer artists whose work points to the future.

Wall street company with corporate art collection
Sciame office, 14 Wall Street. Corporate art collection featuring artist Derek Fordjour. Photo via Real Art Muse

7. Enhanced productivity

Happier employees tend to be more productive and an increase in productivity can soon lead to an increase in profits. Having art in the workplace increases creativity and efficiency, making for an enhanced work environment.

According to a 2013 research by the British Council for Offices, 61% of workers agree that artwork inspires them to think and work more creatively.

Opening photo: Deutsche Bank, "Art Works"