The Financial Times gets a tour of Deutsche Bank’s “three-figure million” art collection which comprises 56,000 works in 900 locations (that’s an average value of $5-10,000 per work and $50k per location) from Friedhelm Hütte, global head of Deutsche Bank’s art who oversees a team of 10 and numerous freelance advisors:
Initially, the collection concentrated on the art of Germany and Austria, including such artists as Egon Schiele and Franz Marc. At the end of the 1970s the bank decided to concentrate on contemporary art, although the emphasis remained on German artists, including Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter and Georg Baselitz. This evolved in the 1990s as globalisation transformed the bank and it recruited overseas staff and set up foreign bases. The collecting policy mirrored its international outlook and now Mr Hütte has a team of 10 based in New York, London and Frankfurt, as well as freelance advisers.
One of the highlights of the job is meeting artists in studios – Mr Hütte prefers building relationships with them and galleries to buying at auction. He recalls with fondness being cooked for by Neo Rauch in his Leipzig studio. […] He is passionate about his work, insisting: “Art is not an extra, a luxury. It’s really an essential part of the bank.” He also volunteers figures on the bank’s commitment – in 2010 the company invested €21.1m in art and music. […] On a tour of the bank’s airy London office, he points to a Damien Hirst dot painting and a large silvery sculpture by Anish Kapoor. Both, he says, would today be beyond his budget. Though he regrets not buying a major work by Blinky Palermo from the 1960s.