UniCredit Halts Plans to Sell Bank’s Art Masterpieces, Launches New Strategy on Art and Culture

Thursday, August 5, 2021
UniCredit Halts Plans to Sell Bank’s Art Masterpieces, Launches New Strategy on Art and Culture

UniCredit SpA is halting the planned sale of some works of art from a collection dating as far back as the Renaissance, marking the reversal by new Chief Executive Officer Andrea Orcel.

UniCredit SpA is halting the planned sale of some works of art from a collection dating as far back as the Renaissance, marking the reversal by new Chief Executive Officer Andrea Orcel of a signature policy from his predecessor. After the decision to discontinue the Art4Future project, which previously oversaw the sale of some of the Group's most significant artworks, the bank is now launching new programmes to ensure its collection is fully accessible to all. These include a dedicated digital initiative that will provide virtual access for the wider public to the bank's art collection as well as educational programmes aimed at children in collaboration with the UniCredit Foundation.

“UniCredit is halting any further sales and launching new and innovative initiatives to support art and culture,” Orcel said in a statement on Wednesday. Art and culture “have a deep social value and are closely intertwined with the social function that I believe a bank needs to have in all its communities.”

The decision ends former CEO Jean Pierre Mustier’s “Art4Future” project, announced in February 2019, to sell the bank’s most significant artworks to finance social impact initiatives as well as young and emerging artists.

Under the Art4Future plan, hundreds of impressionist, post-War and contemporary artworks were sold by Christie’s in auctions held in London and Amsterdam starting from 2019. They included standout pieces by Gerhard Richter, Yves Klein, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Andreas Gursky, Enrico Castellani and Nam June Paik.

UniCredit holds one of the top corporate art collections in Europe, amassing more than 60,000 works from the banks that joined together to create the group more than a decade ago. The main collections are based in Austria, Italy and Germany and include masterpieces from the 15th century to today.

 

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