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Helaba Art Collection

Collecting contemporary art requires courage and vision. Indeed, a defining feature of the works of young and recent artists is that they refuse to comply with any of the customary evaluation criteria. For us, this only serves to make the challenge even more attractive, because we see the promotion of new artists not least as an investment in the future.

In the present lies the future – this is the concept behind Helaba’s approach to collecting

Helaba has been concentrating on the works of contemporary artists since 1996. Our collecting concept is to place the latest artistic positions in relation to established ones. For example, we make visible whole lines of development by acquiring entire complexes or groups of work – and this juxtaposition of a wide variety of media – painting, drawing, photography, sculpture and video – corresponds to the forms of expression actually used in contemporary art production.

But art already had its place at Helaba before this. Our collection includes classic paintings from the modern period (Nolde, Pechstein, Schmidt-Rottluff) and convoluted concrete-constructive art from the sixties and seventies (Fruhtrunk, Heerich, Geiger, Schoonhoven) and American minimal art (Judd, Lewitt, Mangold); the eighties are represented by outstanding individual works such as “New York Sky” by Gerhard Richter. These works are integral to the current collection in that they were important in paving the way for the contemporary art in it, and through the dialogue thus created open up new and unaccustomed perspectives on it.

Helaba’s specialist relationship with contemporary art is manifest in the numerous commissioned works created in recent years for the MAIN TOWER. Many of these relate directly to the context of architecture and include, for example, the video installation “The World of Appearances” by American artist Bill Viola, and the wall mosaic “Frankfurter Treppe” by Stephan Huber. Both works are on display in the foyer, which is open to the public. The floors above house works by Franz Ackermann, Paul Morrison, Claudia and Julia Müller and Bernhard Martin.

The MAIN TOWER is also home to most of the other works acquired by Helaba over the years. They are distributed throughout the offices and corridors of the tower according to a particular concept, and invite our employees and visitors to engage, on an everyday basis, in what is certainly not an everyday dialogue. Guided tours of the collection are also available, so interested members of the public can discover at close hand one of the most consistent yet multi-faceted art collections in Frankfurt .

Other works and groups of work are kept at Erfurt, Kassel and Offenbach, as well as at our overseas offices in New York, London, Paris and Madrid.