The Julius Baer Art Collection comprises over 5,000 works spanning a wide array of media. Paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos, drawings and graphic arts are displayed in Julius Baer’s meeting rooms, staff restaurants, offices, foyers and corridors around the globe. Established in 1981 by Hans J. Baer (1927–2011), the Collection was inspired by the belief that art in the workplace presents a wonderful starting point for conversation. Today the artworks continue to engage and intrigue both employees and visiting clients alike.
The Collection features works by some of Switzerland’s most important contemporary artists, including John M Armleder, Silvia Bächli, Miriam Cahn, Lutz & Guggisberg, Pipilotti Rist, Ugo Rondinone, Shirana Shahbazi and Roman Signer, to name but a few.
Fostering contemporary Swiss artists
The Julius Baer Art Collection specialises in the acquisition of works by contemporary Swiss artists or artists who live and work in Switzerland. At its core is a special focus on promising young artists, who are then followed throughout their careers. In recent years there has also been an emphasis on rounding out the Collection by assembling groups of works that reflect the entire oeuvre of the most significant artistic figures. The exciting and diverse collection that results is a dynamic blend of works by up-and-coming talents as well as those by more established artists.
Particular attention is placed on the quality and innovation of the artist’s work and how they have developed within their own artistic approach. Barbara Staubli, Curator of the Collection, elucidates, “Our strategy is to keep an eye on young artists who have attracted some interest and repeatedly demonstrated their creativity. From that point, we will follow the artist and round off their oeuvre by purchasing more works as their career develops.”
The Art Committee
Ever since the corporate collection was set up in 1981, the Julius Baer Art Committee has been responsible for acquiring new pieces for the ever-expanding Collection. The Committee has members from a variety of backgrounds, comprising five employees of the Bank who are passionate about the arts, the Curator of the art collection, Barbara Staubli, and the external expert, Giovanni Carmine, the director of Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen. The members regularly attend exhibitions and art fairs to maintain the requisite overview of the contemporary Swiss art scene.
Giovanni Carmine, external advisor to the Julius Baer Art Committee and director of the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, explains, “The collecting undertaken by Bank Julius Baer reflects what is happening in the Swiss art scene in general, for one of the fundamental ideas underpinning the Collection is to promote local art.”
Follow the Julius Baer Art Collection on its Instagram account @juliusbaerartcollection. It showcases not only fascinating images of the artworks and pieces coexisting in the workplace, but also background information on the works presented and the Collection itself.
The book ‘Surrounded by Art’
The book ‘Surrounded by Art. The Julius Baer Art Collection’, published by the prestigious Scheidegger & Spiess, aims to highlight the origins of the Collection as well as the essence of the Art Committee’s activities over the past forty years. A dynamic mix of artworks by established Swiss artists and emerging talents provides insights into the history of the Collection and reflects a passion for collecting. The publication was selected as one of the most beautiful German books in 2021.