A CELEBRATION OF CORPORATE ART PROGRAMMES WORLDWIDE, Bonhams HQ, 101 New Bond Street, January 13th– January 24th.
In their new book, A CELEBRATION OF CORPORATE ART PROGRAMMES WORLDWIDE (£75, Wapping Arts Trust, supported by Bonhams) authors Peter Harris and Shirley Reiff Howarth’s give us a fascinating insight into the world of corporate collecting. The first such collection is thought to be that of the Sienese Monte dei Paschi Bank which was formed in 1472 and it still thrives today.
Some two thousand companies and half of the Fortune 500 were seriously collecting by the second half of the 1990s. Organisations such as airports, retailers, hotels, hospitals (my local hospital, for example, has a good collection, including wall paintings by Bridget Riley), legal firms and blue-chip corporations. In most cases these collections are used to show the companies philanthropic interests and their core beliefs to their employees and the wider world. Sponsorship of art programmes and loans to major exhibitions also brings the company’s name to a wider audience.
There is an emphasis on the modern and contemporary in this exhibition which features up to four works from companies, including ABN AMRO Neuflize Vie (France), Canary Wharf, Clifford Chance, Fleming Wyfold Art Foundation (UK), EON (Germany),Fundacion Telefonica, Fundacion Mapfre (Spain), Hiscox, HSBC (France), Simmons and Simmons, Statoil (Norway).
Paintings, prints, sculpture, photography and video art are on loan with works by Cadell, Tracey Emin, George Grosz, Otto Dix, Roberto Matta, Antoine Tapies, Richard Hamilton, Ellis O’Connell and Cornelia Parker as well as a Delvaux and a Magritte. Some of which have not been widely seen before.