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Deutsche Bank bins masterpieces amidst efforts to stay afloat

Updated: Apr 13, 2020

By Alex Stuart The renowned art collection of Deutsche Bank has been squeezed amidst the context of major cuts within the organisation both to major artworks and 18,000 jobs; a fifth of its global workforce. The bank is struggling to cope with fines relating to misconduct relating to the 2008 financial crisis and the fallout of a collapsed merger with Commerzbank last year. Consequently, Deutsche Bank has deaccessioned in private sales for undisclosed amounts works by Nolde, Mondrian, Pechstein and Richter, whose triptych masterpiece Faust, 1981 was sold off the wall of the New York office’s lobby. Still plenty remain (around 55,000 works down from 59,000) to consecrate the walls of the bank’s new Berlin gallery, the Palais Populaire, which opened in 2018. The bank’s collection is valued at $500 million, somewhat, dare we say it, paltry when considering the sheer volume of the collection, but representatives cite its ongoing commitment to supporting emerging artists. The real incentive will be, of course, that at least a few of these will turn out to be the next Richters and Pechsteins, seeing exponential returns on those investments in a few decades time. That is, if the bank manages to persevere through its not-so-minor rocky patch.

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