It all began with a painting. To mark the opening of Deutsche Bank’s London representative office in 1973, members of the Board of Managing Directors from Frankfurt presented the painting El Bario San Francisco, Ronda (1954) by the London painter David Bomberg.
The choice also had a symbolic character. Bomberg, the son of Polish-Jewish immigrants, was not only one of the most important British post-war modernist painters. He also had a special connection to the European continent – through his parents and because he had found a second artistic home in Spain. His painting represented the starting point for a corporate collection that initially reflected the dialogue between British and German contemporary art. By 1981, it was mainly works on paper that were collected for the branch in Bishopsgate. Drawings by Georg Baselitz, Markus Lüpertz, and A. R. Penck were as much a part of the collection as lithographs by Peter Blake or Eduardo Paolozzi. Early on, the bank also acquired works by young, up-and-coming artists, including Richard Deacon, Anish Kapoor, and Julian Opie.
After the move to Winchester House in 1999, this concept was further expanded to include Young British Artists and new British artists such as Charles Avery, Susan Derges, Tim Stoner and Catherine Yass. Iconic works such as Anish Kapoor’s sculpture Turning the World Upside Down III, Tony Cragg’s Secretions and Damien Hirst’s painting Biotin-Melamide dominated the lobby of the new headquarters. Each of the sixty conference rooms in the building was dedicated to an artist, from Lucian Freud to Gerhard Richter.
Evolving from European dialogue to a globalised art scene
In the 2000s, however, the British collection increasingly reflected a completely changed global and digitalised art landscape, in which themes such as decolonisation, identity, diaspora, inequality, climate and the Anthropocene came to the fore. This is documented by large-scale spatial works such as The Arc of a Day, Raqs Media Collective’s 2014 clock installation for Deutsche Bank Birmingham. Or Sarnath Banerjee’s picture story An Encounter with Thomas Browne and other Commonplace Utopia, plotted on wallpaper, which extends over several floors in the bank’s office building in Canary Wharf. But also works on paper by young artists who thematise flight, discrimination and marginalisation, such as Barthélémy Toguo and Helina Metaferia. Contact was often established through projects or purchases at the Frieze fairs in New York, Los Angeles or at Frieze London, which Deutsche Bank has supported as the main sponsor for twenty years now.
Deutsche Bank's commitment to art and culture
Deutsche Bank is the Global Lead Partner for Frieze art fairs, with 2023 marking the 20th year of the partnership. As part of its Art & Culture commitment, Deutsche Bank has supported and collected the work of cutting-edge, international artists for more than 40 years. A global leader in corporate art programmes, the bank also runs an Artist of the Year programme, as well as its own cultural centre in Berlin, the PalaisPopulaire. All initiatives are based on the strong belief that engagement with art has a positive impact, not only on clients and staff but also on the communities in which the bank operates. Thus further collaborations such as the Deutsche Bank Frieze Los Angeles Film Award in the United States, The Art of Conversation, the Frieze x Deutsche Bank Emerging Curators Fellowship in the United Kingdom, and the digital platform Art:LIVE, create access to contemporary art for people all around the world. Discover more here.