The Credit Suisse commitment to the visual arts in Switzerland takes two forms: while Cultural Sponsorship supports the exhibition activities of leading art institutions in the country, the Art Unit is building up a collection of works by contemporary Swiss and Switzerland-based artists.
Established in 1975, the core of the Credit Suisse Collection now comprises 10,000 artworks. However, upon the accession of the art holdings of the former "Schweizerische Volksbank" in 1997, the Credit Suisse Collection expanded to include a group of significant paintings and drawings by Swiss artists from the early 20th century. These historical and contemporary works are hung or installed in the various public and business spaces of Credit Suisse buildings, where they play an important role in communicating the bank's image.
Encouraging Young Talent
On behalf of the Art Commission – composed of members of the Executive Board – the Art Unit purchases new works following a concept that both accommodates a broad range of artistic forms while guaranteeing that high standards of quality are maintained.
As part of its commitment to encouraging young talent, Credit Suisse starts acquiring works from artists at an early stage in their career. No attempt is made to draw attention to the collection by making spectacular purchases from established '"top shots." The goal, rather, is to accompany and support individual artists over the long term, as their oeuvre evolves.
EIt is the inner coherence of an artwork – a combination of convincing themes and treatment, artistic authenticity and a compelling aesthetic force – that is decisive in its being selected for the Credit Suisse Collection. Contacts with the artists themselves as well as with galleries, art museums and external consultants are fostered in order to follow the development of both individual artists and the contemporary art scene. Site-specific art and building projects that are either commissioned directly or emerge as the winners of competitions form another component of this long-range collection strategy.
Representing Corporate Culture
The art that is hung and displayed throughout Credit Suisse premises cultivates a climate that is receptive to change. For clients and employees alike, these artworks can be thought-provoking and a stimulus for ideas. They challenge conventional modes of perception and provoke discussion. Overall, the Credit Suisse Collection represents a corporate culture that advocates open dialogue and enacts its commitment to art in the everyday world.