10 Banks With A Notable Blue Chip Art Collection

A print with a white background and the words 'Don't Blame The Idiots' printed in black with each word on a separate lineImage © / Mutual Art / Untitled (Don’t Blame The Idiots) David Shrigley 2019
Rebecca Marsham

Rebecca Marsham, Sales Director[email protected]

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Art has always been a symbol of affluence. It's not only high net worth individuals who are drawn to art as an investment; large corporations have also been seen to invest in the art world, as the intersection between art and finance gains prominence. Banks, in particular, are among the institutions that have been increasingly investing in art collections in recent years. Banks are known for their financial acumen, but their clear interest in the world of art investment attests to the strength of this alternative asset class.

Banks invest in art for several reasons, one of which is diversification. Similar to how individuals invest in various asset classes, banks also look to invest in art collections to diversify their portfolio. Art collections also serve as a means of building the bank's brand, as these collections can often be showcased in exhibitions, cultural events, and museums. It can also serve as an opportunity to support emerging artists.

In this article, we explore 10 banks with notable blue-chip art collections, showcasing their most prized pieces and their significance. These banks have amassed collections worth millions of dollars and include works by some of the most renowned artists in history. We will also delve into the impact of art collections on the banks' bottom line, examining how these collections contribute to their wealth.

1.

JPMorgan Chase

JP Morgan Chase is among the leading financial institutions with a vast and valuable art collection. The collection comprises over 30,000 works of art, primarily displayed in the bank's corporate offices, branches, and trading floors worldwide. The collection features blue-chip works by renowned artists, including Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, and Sol LeWitt.

The bank's art collection is estimated to be worth billions of dollars, with some individual works fetching tens of millions of dollars at auction. One of the most notable pieces in the collection is Roy Lichtenstein's Reflections On Crash, which the bank acquired for $8 million in 2001. Other highlights of the collection include works by Pablo Picasso, Jasper Johns, and Frank Stella.

JP Morgan Chase's art collection is not just a display of wealth but also serves as a means of promoting cultural exchange and fostering creativity among its employees. The bank often lends artworks to museums and cultural institutions for exhibitions, and its own corporate offices have been transformed into gallery spaces, with regular installations and shows featuring emerging and established artists. JP Morgan Chase's blue-chip art collection is a testament to this philosophy, serving as an alternative investment and a source of inspiration for its employees and the broader public.

A painting titled 'Salome' by Henri Matisse depicting a woman in an orange and gold robe with raised arms in a lush, green landscape.Image © Wikipedia / Salome © Henri Matisse, 1870
2.

UBS

UBS, the Swiss multinational investment bank, has one of the most impressive and valuable art collections in the world. Their blue chip art collection includes over 30,000 works of art by some of the most renowned artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as Pablo Picasso, Roy Lichtenstein, and Gerhard Richter, among many others.

The collection's value is not disclosed, but it is believed to be worth several hundred million dollars. UBS has been acquiring art since the 1960s, and today the collection is managed by a team of experts who are responsible for acquiring, curating, and showcasing the works.

One of the collection's notable works is Salome by Henri Matisse, a painting that was once part of the collection of the Russian businessman Sergei Shchukin. Another standout piece is Untitled (Skull) by Jean-Michel Basquiat, which sold for a record-breaking $110.5 million in 2017.

A painting titled "Untitled (Skull)" by Jean-Michel Basquiat, finished in 1981. The painting features a skull with a crown in Basquiat's signature bold style, surrounded by layers of text, symbols, and graffiti-like markingsImage © Flickr (CC) / Untitled (Skull) © Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1982

UBS also has an extensive photography collection, with works by legendary photographers such as Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, and Andreas Gursky, among others. The bank has stated that its art collection serves not only as an investment but also as a way to support and engage with the broader cultural community.

As UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti once said, "Our art collection is not just an investment, but an asset that reflects the values of the bank and our commitment to society." The UBS art collection serves as a reminder that art can be both a valuable asset and a vital part of cultural heritage.

An abstract painting titled Harran II by Frank Stella featuring a large black hexagon with smaller brightly coloured shapes overlapping and intersecting it.Image © The Guggenheim Museums / Harran II © Frank Stella, 1967
3.

Bank of America

Bank of America is among the world's most significant buyers of contemporary art, and its collection is worth millions of dollars. The collection includes approximately 25,000 works of art, with pieces dating back to the 18th century. The collection spans a wide range of styles and mediums, from paintings and sculptures to photographs and installations. Some of the most notable artists featured in the Bank of America collection include Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, and Robert Rauschenberg.

A notable inclusion in the collection is Sol LeWitt's vibrant wall drawing, Wall Drawing #260, currently exhibited at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Additionally, in the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), also located in New York City, is Frank Stella's Harran II, a large-scale metal sculpture.

The collection is not only an impressive display of art, but it also serves a practical purpose. Bank of America uses its art collection to create a welcoming and inspiring atmosphere for its employees and clients. The bank has also made its art collection available to the public through various exhibitions and events.

A contemporary artwork titled "Wand (Wall)" consisting of a large rectangular panel of grey glass with a textured surface resembling a concrete wall. The artwork is mounted on a wall and was created by Gerhard Richter in 1994.Image © ArtsDot.com / Wand (Wall) © Gerhard Richter, 1994
4.

Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank's blue chip art collection is one of the largest corporate art collections in the world, with over 60,000 pieces of art spread across their offices worldwide. The collection is diverse, ranging from contemporary art to classic photography, and includes works by prominent artists such as Gerhard Richter, Anselm Kiefer, and Andreas Gursky.

The collection's value is estimated to be around €60 million, and it has been widely praised for its quality and breadth. Deutsche Bank's art collection has been a fixture of the company's corporate identity since the 1970s, and the bank has been a major sponsor of art exhibitions and events.

Some notable works in the collection include Gerhard Richter's Wand (Wall), a monumental work measuring over 18 meters in length, and Andreas Gursky's Dusseldorf, Montparnasse which was acquired by the bank in 1996 and is considered to be one of the artist's most iconic works.

Deutsche Bank's blue chip art collection not only serves as a point of pride for the bank, but it also underscores the importance of art as a valuable asset for institutional investors. As former CEO of Deutsche Bank Josef Ackermann once said, “A company without a collection is like a person without a memory.”

An oil painting titled "Les Oliviers" depicting a grove of olive trees in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, with a mountain range in the background. The painting features thick, expressive brushstrokes in shades of green, blue, yellow, and brown.Image © Lowry Gallery / Les Oliviers © Van Gogh, 1889
5.

Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse, one of the world's leading financial institutions, is known not only for its financial prowess but also for its impressive art collection. The company's blue-chip art collection consists of over 5,000 works, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs, from artists all over the world.

Credit Suisse's art collection includes works by some of the most prominent names in art history, such as Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh, as well as contemporary artists like Olafur Eliasson and Julie Mehretu. Some notable pieces in the collection include Picasso's Nature Morte à la Bouteille de Marc, Monet's Le Pont Japonais, and Van Gogh's Les Oliviers.

While the exact value of Credit Suisse's art collection is not publicly disclosed, it is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The collection is not only a reflection of Credit Suisse's commitment to art and culture but also serves as a valuable asset for the company.

The presence of such a prestigious collection underscores the growing importance of art as an asset class. As art continues to increase in value and demand, investors are increasingly looking to art as an alternative investment for portfolio diversification.

6.

UniCredit Group

UniCredit Group is a major European banking and financial services company that has been steadily building an impressive blue-chip art collection since the 1980s. Their collection consists of over 60,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs. The artworks are displayed in UniCredit's offices, branches, and public spaces across Europe, creating a dynamic and engaging environment for employees, customers, and the general public.

Some notable pieces in UniCredit's collection include Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe (F. &. S. II.21) screen print, Georg Baselitz's Dreizehn Auf Grünem Grund, and Gerhard Richter's Schädel. The collection also features works by emerging contemporary artists such as Vik Muniz, Rui Chafes, and Ingrid Donat.

The exact value of UniCredit's art collection is not publicly disclosed, but it is estimated to be worth several hundred million euros. UniCredit's commitment to collecting high-quality artworks demonstrates their dedication to supporting contemporary art and artists while also providing a unique and enriching experience for their employees and clients.

An abstract painting titled "No. 16 (Red, Brown, and Black)" featuring three blocks of colour - red, brown, and black - blending into one another on a large, rectangular canvas.Image © Rob Corder via Flickr CC 2.0 / No. 16 (Red, Brown, and Black) © Mark Rothko, 1958
7.

Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley is one of the world's largest financial institutions and it is also a major collector of art. Their blue chip art collection includes works by some of the most famous artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The collection is reported to be worth over $1 billion, although exact figures are hard to come by. Some of the artists represented in the collection include Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Joan Miró, and Andy Warhol.

One notable piece in their collection is Rothko's No. 16 (Red, Brown, and Black) from 1958, which sold for $82.5 million at a Christie's auction in 2014. The collection also features works by emerging artists, such as Rashid Johnson, Julie Mehretu, and Wangechi Mutu, indicating that Morgan Stanley is committed to investing in the future of the art world as well.

As a major player in the art market, Morgan Stanley's blue chip art collection is not only a testament to their financial success but also to their understanding of the value of art as a tangible asset. It serves as an example of how investing in art can be a valuable addition to a diversified portfolio.

8.

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs, one of the world's largest investment banks, has an impressive blue-chip art collection. Their collection includes works by some of the most prominent artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Frank Stella. They have also acquired works by emerging artists like Julie Mehretu and Theaster Gates.

While the exact value of their art collection is not publicly disclosed, it is estimated to be worth millions of dollars. Some notable works in their collection include Warhol's Ten Portraits Of Jews Of The Twentieth Century, a series of silkscreen prints featuring influential Jewish figures, and Lichtenstein's Red and White Brushstrokes, a vibrant painting that references Abstract Expressionism.

Goldman Sachs' collection is not only impressive but also serves a practical purpose. The bank uses the art to decorate its offices, creating a more visually stimulating and engaging environment for its employees and clients. Additionally, as an alternative asset class, art can provide diversification benefits to an investment portfolio.

9.

HSBC

HSBC is one of the largest banks in the world and also has an impressive art collection worth an estimated $600 million. The collection, which consists of over 10,000 pieces, includes a wide range of art from various regions and periods, including contemporary Chinese and Middle Eastern art, British and European art from the 18th to the 20th centuries, and traditional Asian art.

One of the highlights of HSBC's collection is the Square Colours series by Bridget Riley, a British artist associated with the Op Art movement of the 1960s. The series, which consists of nine paintings, is displayed in the lobby of HSBC's London headquarters and is valued at over $30 million.

Another notable piece in the collection is Sunflowers by Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang, which is part of a series that explores the cultural and historical changes in China during the 20th century. The painting was purchased by HSBC in 2009 for $2.3 million and is currently on display in their Hong Kong headquarters.

A preserved tiger shark suspended in a glass tank filled with formaldehyde, titled "The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living" by Damien Hirst, 1991.Image: dou_ble_you via Flicker, CC 2.0 / The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living © Damien Hirst, 1991
10.

Barclays

Barclays Bank boasts an impressive blue chip art collection that spans over several decades and includes pieces from some of the most prominent artists of the 20th century. The collection includes works by artists such as Damien Hirst, David Hockney, Bridget Riley, and Eduardo Paolozzi. The collection is not publicly valued, but it is considered one of the most valuable corporate art collections in the world.

One notable piece in the collection is Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, which features a 14-foot tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde. The piece is estimated to be worth around $15 million and has become an icon of contemporary art.

Another notable piece is Bridget Riley's Cataract 3, a vibrant abstract painting that showcases the artist's signature use of colour and optical illusions. The painting is valued at around $5 million and is one of the most significant pieces in the collection.

An optical abstract painting titled "Cataract 3" featuring vertical black and white stripes of varying widths arranged in a rhythmic pattern, creating an illusion of movement and depth.Image © Lowry Gallery / Cataract 3 © Bridget Riley, 1967

The Barclays art collection serves as a testament to the bank's commitment to art and culture and represents a unique opportunity for its employees and visitors to engage with some of the most iconic works of art of our time.

In conclusion, the top banks with a notable blue-chip art collection understand the value of art as a long-term investment. Despite the unpredictable market conditions, art has remained a reliable and resilient investment asset. The exceptional returns, the cultural significance, and the emotional connection that art provides make it a valuable addition to any portfolio.

As the world becomes increasingly digital and the traditional financial markets experience volatility, investors are looking to alternative investments to diversify their portfolios and mitigate risks. Art, with its tangibility and uniqueness, provides an excellent hedge against inflation, and its value is not correlated to the performance of the stock market.

The commitment of banks to building and expanding their art collections underscores the potential of art as an investment. As the art market continues to evolve, it presents exciting opportunities for investors looking to expand their portfolios.

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