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A positive picture: How banks are presenting their art treasures in a better light

Banks hold a lot of art, but how can they justify owning valuable collections, which have no practical use, when their previous extravagances have left their stakeholders in such pain?

Scheeres, Marijn - 20716_780 A sculpture by the UK's Antony Gormley at ING in Brussels

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ING 1400px A sculpture by the UK's Antony Gormley at ING in Brussels



Any visitor to Deutsche Bank’s UK head office will know the lobby’s flamboyant contemporary art – the giant Damien Hirst dots painting and a steel sculpture by Anish Kapoor. Its New York office greets visitors with a massive, swirling triptych by another contemporary art superstar, Gerhard Richter.

Around the world, the scene is replicated at Deutsche and many other banks, which act like modern-day Medicis in art and finance.

The biggest repository of art at Deutsche – and perhaps of any company – is in its global headquarters in Frankfurt. The explosive top floor is reserved for Cai Guo-Qiang, who directed the fireworks at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Among his works, Deutsche owns ‘Head on’, a huge installation of 99 snarling stuffed wolves, all throwing themselves against a glass wall.