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The World's Best Art Collections: Top 3

The top three corporate collections are owned by UBS, Deutsche Bank, and Progressive Insurance.

David Schnell. Cirrus, 2007. Acrylic, oil on linen. 170 x 300 cm. 

Image courtesy of Courtesy Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig/Berlin

UBS Art Collection

Why do corporations collect art? It seems, even large corporations want to put something on the office walls (seriously), per Jacqueline Lewis, UBS' curator for the Americas. The idea of creating interesting and stimulating environments for clients and employees is important, as a means of conducting business and keeping the workplace desirable. The UBS collection contains 35,000 objects, most of which are displayed in private conference rooms, with works generally rotated among location every year or two. The collection includes

Cirrus,

 2007 (David Schnell),

Post Visual

, 1993 (Roy Lichtenstein), and 

Jon Pylypchuk's 

"these are all forgetful moments/you are fighting left and right"

, 2000.

Xaviera Simmons, Warm Leatherette, 2002.

Deutsche Bank Collection

Deutsche Bank Collection

When the Deutsche Bank Collection was founded in 1979, its goal was to support young and emerging artists in the bank's native Germany. With exponential growth since then, the collection followed suit and now includes 57,000 objects, and is the largest corporate art collection in the world. Not surprisingly, work by 

Gerhard Richter can be found in the collection, which has evolved to include work by  international artists, such as

Warm Leatherette

, 2002, c-print (Xaviera Simmons) and 

Husker D

ü

, 2009 (Skylar Fein). 

Each floor of the bank's New York headquarters features a different artistic theme. 

Organizing the collection topically helps viewers gain a better understanding of the work when seen within a context. It also gives a different character to each floor. Floor themes such as “Drawings by Sculptors,” “All About Eve” (figurative works), “Off the Grid,” and “Theories of Relativity” (works highlighting differences in scale), offer a range of subjects realized on paper.

One floor is devoted entirely to photography-based works, while another features woodcut prints from around the world.

Andy Warhol. Mao, 1972. Serigraph.

Progressive Art Collection

. I'm always surprised by this collection

, simply because auto-insurance and cutting-edge contemporary art just never seem to be an intuitive fit. Progressive quietly began collecting fine art in 1974, with an acquisition of 30 artworks, mostly work on paper. The collection philosophy evolved in 1985 to include works by international artists of all ranks - emerging, mid-career and established - whose creativity and innovation reflect the company's business vision. The collection 

includes work by Andy Warhol, as wells as the not surprising auto inspired sculptures, 

Jerry Can: Love Gasoline (Animating Elements)

, 2006 (Jude Tallichet) and deliberately provocative work, 

Pelvis

, 2005 (Matthew Cox), among the 7,800 works the company uses to develop its community.