Art in Luxembourg banks - Part II: LBLux
Imi Knoebel, Dieter Krieg and Jörg Immendorff are three of the most formative German artists of the last century. However very few people have the pleasure of looking at a work of art by one of these artists in the office each day. Their drawings are part of the collection of Banque LBLux, a company that has been part of the Luxembourg banking landscape since 1973. LFF talked to Alain Weber, Managing Director of LBLux, about how employers and clients can benefit from art in the workplace.
When was the collection of LBLux launched and why?
The collection was launched with the construction of this building in 1994. At that time, we sat at together with the architect Wilhelm Kücker and also consulted an expert, Dr. Klaus Gallwitz, who at that time worked for the Städel museum in Frankfurt. Together with the management, we discussed the acquisitions to make, based on a strategy Dr. Gallwitz had developed. The intention was not to put all our eggs in one basket and acquire, for instance, a huge work of art for the entrance hall or outside. The aim was rather to provide each office with a piece of artwork. We focused on paper based works by contemporary German speaking artists who invited us to see their work in galleries and on artists that came to our premises. Together we decided which works to buy. Over the years, the collection was completed, so that we now have a piece in each office and even a surplus that we display in the hall.
Were there any requirements by your parent company, the BayernLB in Munich, or could you decide freely on the collection?
We didn’t have any concrete requirements. There was a certain budget foreseen for art within the construction budget and within this sum, we moved.
Is there still fluctuation within the collection?
Not in the sense that we sell something. But it can happen that individual pieces are added, if there is an exhibition at our premises, for example. But in principle, the collection is complete.
Are employees or clients involved or reflected in the collection?
Nobody gets a picture that he doesn’t like. If an employee wants to change the work of art in his office, he can ask for another one from our stock.
Does the collection reflect the bank?
Not necessarily. Since it was our intention to acquire contemporary art, the artworks reflect what is going on in the world outside and how the artist interprets this situation. The artworks are not necessarily linked to subjects like working or banking.
What is the reaction of employees and clients with regard to the collection?
Our exhibitions always get positive feedback. Due to the possibilities this building offers, we can organise exhibitions easily. How people cope with this, is up to them; and that can vary, of course. Nevertheless it is possible to obtain information about the exhibition and to ask questions about the individual works of art. For the permanent collection, we can refer to our catalogue.
Do artists contact you concerning exhibitions?
That can happen, but we always take the final decision. For example, we have held exhibitions of work by students and professors from art universities or we exhibit artworks that have already been shown in our parent company in Munich. Our aim is to show things that are rarely seen in Luxembourg.
You have already published a catalogue on the LBLux collection. How important was this for you and why?
We have published the catalogue twice, the first time as we were moving into this building and the second time last year to include the artwork that was acquired during the last few years. After the merge with Helaba in Luxembourg, we integrated some of their pieces into our collection and that was one of the reasons why we updated the first catalogue.
What would you personally say is the added value of this collection to employees and clients?
The added value for clients is that they can see beyond the pure banking business und appreciate that we support things that are not quantifiable. Art also gives the opportunity to open oneself to creative processes, because we are not omniscient. Very often, art leads to dialogues. Interest in art is more widespread than you would think. There is art and creativity, and this goes as a pair with our daily work that has to be creative, too, but also reliable and professional.
Pictures from top to bottom:
Mixed media on paper, titled, signed and dated on back
Café Deutschland, Auf Wiedersehen
Gouache, dispersion paint on paper
Titled, signed and dated
Grace Kelly I (for Carmen, Olga and Stella)
Series of 5 silkscreen prints, printed in 10 colours on paper
Printer: Frank Kicherer, Stuttgart
Sheet 4, edition 28 of 90
Edited by Achim Kubinski, Stuttgart and Cologne, 1990