Art Commodity

Could it be true?  Art has officially become a commodity.  I can’t help but feel this way after reading the TIME magazine article titled: Cultural Assets: Banks Stock Up on Art.  Reporters Eben Harrell and Frances Perraudin joined forces to investigate how art has become part of a bank’s portfolio.

Harrell and Perraudin: “You could argue that the banks have done a better job of acquiring art than they have of acquiring financial assets. What’s more valuable: a Richard Diebenkorn painting or a toxic collateralized debt obligation?”  Value is determined by how much one is willing to pay for it.  However, the recent downturn in the economy has made markets become laissez-faire.

It’s difficult to predict what will happen in the financial world.  As an artist, I would like to know the percentage of collectors that buy art because they love it, want to see a return in their investment or perhaps both.  Is art only about $$?

Let’s take a look at how many pieces are in bank collections versus the Louvre Museum.

List of top bank art collections:

1.  Deutche Bank: 50,000 art pieces.

2.  UBS: 35,000 art pieces.

3.  ING: 22,500 art pieces.

4.  JPMorgan Chase: 30,000 art pieces

*In comparison, the Louvre in Paris has 35,000 art pieces.

Will the public ever get the opportunity to view the bank’s collections?  Unfortunately, access will be limited to those with deep pockets.  So don’t miss the opportunity to see as much great art as you can.  It just might end up in someone’s portfolio, hidden from public view.

The links:,9171,2024218,00.html?hpt=C2


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