Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Frontrun: UBS Buying Asian, Indian Art For The Bank's Collection

From Barron's Penta:

UBS’ Global Art Buyer Eyes More Asian Works
Mary Rozell heads the bank’s art collection and is looking at pieces from India, Taiwan and the Philippines. 
You wouldn’t often associate the works of ground-breaking contemporary artists like Andy Warhol and Tracey Emin with the buttoned-down world of investment banking. In today’s art market though, corporate collections are in vogue. With more than 30,000 pieces, Swiss bank UBS’s contemporary is one of the biggest.
The pieces aren’t on display in public galleries, but they’re not sat in warehouses gathering dust either - thankfully. “Most of it’s hanging on walls in our 800 offices around the world,” says Mary Rozell, UBS’s recently-appointed global head of the collection. Rozell, a former art historian and lawyer, is out to dispel the idea that corporate collections are drab and anti-septic.

Penta Asia sat down with Rozell at Hong Kong’s recent Art Basel event.

Penta Asia: How do you source the collection’s artworks?

Mary Rozell: We have a team in Switzerland, one in London, one in New York and one in Hong Kong. You need to cast a wide net to know what’s going on. You need people going to galleries every week and building relationships – not just showing up at an art fair once a year. As the chief curator I approve all the purchases up to a certain amount. For higher end purchases we’ve got an art board which consists of people from the bank and a few outside advisors. They’ve got to ratify any big purchases.

Most of the artworks are so vetted that we know they’re going to hold their value to a certain extent. That latter point’s not really our purpose, though. It’s just by chance when you’re buying out of passion, knowledge and interest that you’re most likely to have your values go up over time. Some of our works were actually acquired from other collections. UBS acquired Paine Webber in 2000, which had a fantastic collection and those works are now very valuable.

Q: So what’s the current value of the entire collection?

A: I’m not telling you that....MUCH MORE
HT: eFinancial News