When the company acts as a collector
The term Corporate Art refers to any artistic property within a collection managed by a company.
Today we can count thousands of corporate collections linked to different business industries, even those that seem more distant from an artistic context.
Among the Corporate Art Collections at international level we find the UBS Art Collection with over 35 thousand works, or the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection launched in 1959 by David Rockefeller and the Deutsche Bank Collection which contains more than 5 thousand artists.
In Italy the research presented in 2016 by the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in collaboration with AXA Art and Intesa San Paolo, to bring to light the variety of the landscape that distinguishes the phenomenon: for example, among the 455 Italian companies interviewed, the foundations are the most involved in corporate collecting, followed by banks and insurance companies and, above all, manufacturing.
These data are also confirmed by the International Directory of Corporate Art Collections by Shirley Reiff Howarth, annual census of corporate collecting: credit / finance and industry are the most attentive to art.
According to the various studies published, the reasons that push a company to decide to introduce artworks within their spaces, are not related to the mere investment and can be contained in three groups:
- The need to gain legitimacy towards stakeholders
- The need to communicate with the society and the stakeholders themselves
- The desire to create a specific strategy for a specific business
Although many collections were born for a direct interest in art by the top manager, this is not the only element able to create and grow an ambitious project like a collection of art.
Corporate Art Collections are a vehicle for business communication: a brand can use the artwork as a way of expressing its identity and its values, both to the society and to its customers, as well as to its employees.
Moreover, the style of the works and their historical time can be metaphors of their business: we are referring to corporate symbolism, a first impression that potential customers remember next to the company’s services card.
The disruptive ability of the art to be an expression way so transversal, made it possible for many companies to use it even within their own strategies of Corporate Social Responsability … but their potential in the business context is still a lot more!