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Who is investing in full-time art curators?

We all know the ultra-wealthy love collecting art. It turns out they’re not alone. The world’s most successful banks have started decorating their grand offices with expensive blue-chip art. Their conference halls and reception spaces are transforming into mini art galleries. Now, employees and clients can appreciate stunning art without leaving the office.

UBS’s headquarters in New York City, for example, treasures one of the most influential contemporary art collections in the corporate world. Mary Rozell, Global Head of the UBS Art Collection, reflects on the importance of their growing collection: “the mission has always been to collect the art of our time, groundbreaking works from artists living and working in regions that we do business.”

Billionaire families like the Rockefellers, who are considered titans of art collecting, might be the ones to credit for this decorative corporate trend. JPMorgan Chase started their massive art collection in 1959 when David Rockefeller established the firm’s art acquisition program, making his firm one of the first pioneers in the world of corporate art collecting.

It’s clear that savvy business executives and Wall Street’s brightest are always looking for opportunities to grow their wealth, so how might building an art collection fit into both their corporate offices and their investment strategy?

Blue-chip artists with over $100 million in public auction sales, like Gerhard Richter, Pablo Piccaso, and Andy Warhol, are filling the interior office spaces of some of the world’s most influential companies. Here’s a peek down the hall into what the most successful investment banks are collecting:

Deutsche Bank:

Deutsche Bank is considered to have the largest corporate art collection in the world, boasting over 57,000 works of art over their 900 offices. Deutsche Bank has decorated its office spaces with blue-chip artists like Pablo Picasso, Gerhard Richter, and Wassily Kandinsky, while also supporting young and emerging European artists.

UBS Group:

The UBS Art Collection is regarded as one of the most distinguished corporate art collections in the world, containing over 35,000 art pieces, which translates to roughly one piece of artwork for every two employees. UBS’s impressive art collection includes paintings by Takashi Murakami, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman, and Christopher Wool.

JP Morgan Chase:

Established over 60 years ago, JPMorgan Chase has a global art collection that traces back to David Rockefeller, the father of modern corporate collecting, who started an art acquisition program at Chase Manhattan Bank in 1959. Since then, the JPMorgan Chase art collection has grown to over 30,000 works, supporting blue-chip artists like Andy Warhol, Joan Mitchell, and Roy Lichtenstein, as well as lesser-known artists.

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