The usually private world of corporate art collections from around the world will be opened up for the first time thanks to a new book which has taken five years to compile.
Authors Peter Harris and Shirley Reiff
Howarth have produced A Celebration of Corporate Art
Collections Worldwide, featuring works ranging from
pre-Columbian gold and Renaissance paintings to Contemporary art
from the likes of Tracey Emin.
The book is being launched with an
exhibition at Bonhams' newly redeveloped New Bond Street
headquarters running from January 14-24, titled Modern Medicis
and their Art Collections.
It is thought that the first corporate
collection was formed during the Renaissance in 1472 by the Monte
dei Paschi bank in Siena, a collection that thrives to this
By the mid 1990s half of the Fortune
500 companies and another 2000 companies in the USA and Europe were
actively collecting art. Estimated to be worth billions, some of
the many artworks to be found in this book have been seen by the
public on loan to a variety of museums in travelling exhibitions,
but others have never been seen before.
The book also looks at corporate art
programmes and how, in many cases, these can give a first glimpse
of treasures previously hidden from public view.
The Bonhams exhibition features
paintings, prints, sculpture, photography and video art from a
selection of major companies in Britain, France, Germany, Spain and
Scandinavia. Firms represented are: 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
It includes about four works from each
corporation, with a predominantly modern and contemporary slant.
The loans include a Magritte and a Delvaux, as well as work from
Cadell, Emin, George Grosz, Otto Dix, Roberto Matta, Antoine
Tapies, Richard Hamilton, Ellis O'Connell and Cornelia
Peter Harris has been working in the
field of corporate art for over 30 years and was chairman of
International Art Consultants for much of that time, advising
companies worldwide on the benefits and best practice of corporate
art programmes. He is also chairman of the Wapping Arts
Shirley Reiff Howarth has been
researching the field of art in corporations for 30 years as the
creator and editor of the International Directory of Corporate
Art Collections, published biannually since 1983.
• The 296-page book, with 320
illustrations, is being published this month by Wapping Arts Trust.