Art at Deka

The Deka collection includes more than 1,600 extraordinary works of contemporary art. We have been supporting renowned museums for many years and we are committed to promoting the appreciation of art and culture.

documenta fifteen will take place from June 18 until September 25, 2022 in Kassel.

One of the art highlights in 2022: documenta fifteen in Kassel

One thing is certain - this documenta will be different from the 14 world art shows that preceded it: documenta fifteen will open in Kassel on June 18, 2022 for 100 days. The exhibition will show how the world and society can also be imagined. ruangrupa, an art collective founded in Jakarta (Indonesia) in 2000, has been appointed artistic director of the show. The collective’s work is based on a holistic practice strongly connected to Indonesian culture, in which friendship, solidarity, sustainability, and community are central.

ruangrupa has based documenta fifteen upon the values and ideas of lumbung. lumbung, which directly translates as “rice barn”, refers to a communal building in Indonesia where a community’s harvest is gathered, stored and distributed according to jointly determined criteria as a pooled resource for the future. As a concrete practice, lumbung is the starting point of documenta fifteen: principles of collectivity, resource building and equitable distribution are pivotal to the curatorial work.
ruangrupa, artistic director of documenta fifteen

We want to create a globally oriented, collaborative and interdisciplinary art and culture platform that will remain effective beyond the 100 days of documenta fifteen.

The collective’s way of working is based on an alternative, community-oriented model of sustainability in ecological, social and economic terms, in which resources, ideas or knowledge are shared, as well as social participation. The idea of sustainability is also comprehensively considered in the exhibition planning in all its manifestations.
The Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe has been a sponsor of the world's most important exhibition of contemporary art since the first documenta in 1955, and has been the main sponsor since 1992. Deka has also been involved in this sponsorship project since 2002.

The Deka Art Collection

1,600 works by more than 450 artists from all over the world: Deka has been building up its art collection since 2003. It reflects for the company’s sense of social responsibility and shows contemporary art with all its productive power and creative potential. Painting, drawing, photography, video, sculpture, installation art and digital art – the entire range of media has been taken into account in the expansion of the collection, which is currently on view at the company’s Frankfurt headquarters, the Trianon high-rise.

In the building, the works of art are presented on the floors where employees work and on the conference floors. The works of art are also frequent travellers: We regularly lend works from our collection for exhibitions at museums and institutions around the world.
© courtesy of Liam Gillick and Esther Schipper, Berlin, Foto: Wolfgang Günzel
courtesy of Liam Gillick and Esther Schipper, Berlin, Foto: Wolfgang Günzel

Installations by Liam Gillick at Deka (Applied Discussion Platform, 2003, anodized aluminium, powder-coated aluminium sheets and Renovation Filtration, 2003, acrylic on wall)

Martin K. Müller, Member of the Board of Management

Art opens up new perspectives for us by using a purely visual language of forms to reflect current issues in society as well as the people that define our lives. I always find these encounters within the company exciting!

The art collection is an important part of DekaBank's cultural engagement. We promote up-and-coming artists by giving special consideration to talented young people. The collection shows how diverse contemporary art is and therefore includes a wide range of different media, such as paintings, drawings, photographs, videos, sculptures, installation art and digital art.
Exhibitions of the collection in the Trianon building encourage discussions among employees and business partners. It is integrated into the Company's day-to-day life and allows people to come into direct contact with contemporary art. We would like to invite viewers to look at the art with an open mind and reflect on the themes.

The Deka Art Collection – A mirror of society

The 44th floor of our corporate headquarters marks the beginning of the collection. Here is where the first major works and commissioned works were presented. Currently, under the title “The Deka Art Collection – A Mirror of Society”, established artists such as Corinne Wasmuht or Thomas Bayrle and young, up-and-coming artists such as Daniel Gustav Cramer or Jagoda Bednarsky are on display.

The dialogue between these works and the commissioned works of Katharina Grosse or Liam Gillick, which were created for the 44th floor in 2003, is particularly exciting. They are among the central works of our art collection.

Experience the Deka Art Collection

Art enthusiasts, people interested in art and even those who are sceptical are all welcome, as we can introduce people to contemporary art in tours and increase awareness of the collection. During the conversations, it becomes clear that art has the ability to create openness and tolerance to unfamiliar perspectives. As a result, Deka's involvement with art also fulfils an educational mission.

In 2005, "Kunst privat! Hessische Unternehmen zeigen ihre Kunst" (Private art! Hessian companies show their art collections) was launched by the Hessian Ministry of Economics, Transport and Regional Development. Deka has been involved in this initiative since that time and offers visitors a glimpse into its art collection. Due to Corona, "Kunst privat!" moved to the digital realm: Posts about the company's art collections has been published on social media channels like Instagram (@kunst.privat), Facebook (Kunst privat!) and Twitter (@kunstprivat). 

Deka and the MMK: a partnership for art

The MUSEUM MMK FÜR MODERNE KUNST Frankfurt am Main (MMK, Museum of Modern Art) Frankfurt am Main is one of the most important institutions for contemporary art. More than 5,000 works from the 1960s to the present form the museum’s collection – and the number of works is growing all the time: The MMK is constantly adding important works to its collection. To ensure that it can continue to do so, we have been supporting the MMK with EUR 40,000 per year since 2002.

The MMK now has three locations in Frankfurt: In addition to the MUSEUM MMK and the ZOLLAMT MMK, the TOWER MMK was founded in 2014. Close by, in the TaunusTurm in Frankfurt’s banking district, it presents changing special exhibitions and collection presentations on current topics. As a founding partner of the TOWER MMK we support the exhibitions at this third location of the museum together with other partners.

Frankfurt am Main is one of the most important locations for museums in Germany. Our support for the MMK helps the city to strengthen its cultural importance. An important goal of the partnership is to promote presentation and learning about contemporary art, so that it can fulfil its important educational mission. This is because art can help one's understanding – which is highly important at a time when society is facing many major challenges.
© Foto: Dieter Schwer
Foto: Dieter Schwer

TOWER MMK in the TaunusTurm

The MMK hosts the Deka Art Collection

In 2018, Deka turned 100 years old. A special occasion for an extraordinary exhibition: The MMK invited Deka to show key works from its corporate collection in a museum for the first time. The result was the exhibition “Social FaçadesA Dialogue between the Collections of MMK and DekaBank”. It highlighted the conceptual, thematic and artistic connections of both collections.

As part of this anniversary exhibition, the MMK received a donation of four works from the Deka Art Collection, including three large-scale installations by the artists Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset, Michael Beutler, Tue Greenfort and a sculpture by Martin

Take a look at the works in the anniversary exhibition: Learn more about the exhibition on the MMK website.
© © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: David Pinzer
© Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, Foto: David Pinzer

Visitors to the Staatliche Kunstsammlung (State Art Collection) in Dresden

World famous paintings, sparkling jewels: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

The Dresden museum landscape is spectacular. Some of Europe’s most famous museums are located in Dresden. We wish to preserve this unique cultural heritage and to communicate its extraordinary importance to the people. For this reason, we have been the main sponsor of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (SKD, Dresden State Art Collections) together with other institutions of the German Savings Bank Finance Group (Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe) since 2006.

We support the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden in major projects that have been international sensations, for example:
  • The restored Grüne Gewölbe (Historic Green Vault) opened in 2006, where more than 3,000 unique works of jewellery and goldsmith’s art sparkle and shine: It shows as faithfully as possible the state of the treasury under August the Strong.
  • In 2010 the redesigned Albertinum was reopened. It shows the Galerie Neue Meister (New Masters Gallery) and the Skulpturensammlung (Sculpture Collection) with art of the 19th and 20th centuries and the present.
  • In 2020 the Zwinger mit Semperbau (Semper Building at the Zwinger) was reopened with the works of the world-famous Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) of the Skulpturensammlung (Sculpture Collection) until 1800.

German Savings Bank Finance Group support for the SKD

From 14.05.2022 to 15.01.2023, the exhibition "Weltflucht und Moderne. Oskar Zwintscher in Art around 1900" at the Albertinum with more than 100 exhibits presents the complete works of the Saxon painter Oskar Zwintscher, which are yet to be discovered internationally and which stand in the painterly tradition of the old masters. His name stands alongside those of great artists around 1900 such as Böcklin, Hodler, Stuck and Klimt. Especially his portraits are among the best created between Realism and Art Nouveau.

Young people are especially important to us. The museum should be a place of learning for them. For this reason, as a member of the German Savings Bank Finance Group, we support the S-School Laboratory, where schoolchildren gain direct insights into research at the museum. For example, they can study the art historical value of the works. Or analyse the materials and research the origin. This hands-on approach brings art research to life.

The German Savings Bank Finance Group is one of the largest public supporters of the arts in Germany. Its support for the SKD is an example of the important social engagement practised by the savings banks and their alliance partners. The institutions providing the support, such as DekaBank, also want to make the extraordinary breadth and depth of the SKD's art collections accessible to the public. Savings bank customers receive a special benefit in the form of a 15% discount on the admission price. More information is available here.
© © Albertinum | Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
© Albertinum | Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

Oskar Zwintscher, Portrait of a lady with cigarette, 1904
Oil on canvas, 82 x 68 cm

© Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Fotograf: Andres Kilger
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie / Fotograf: Andres Kilger

Return of the painting “The Watzmann” by Caspar David Friedrich to Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie.

The Watzmann

It is considered one of the most important landscape paintings of the Romantic period: “The Watzmann”, painted in 1824/25 by Caspar David Friedrich. From 1937 it belonged to the holdings of the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) in Berlin. In 2003 it became clear that the history of the painting had a dark side: Martin Brunn, a Jewish art collector and owner of the “Watzmann”, was forced to sell the painting under pressure from the National Socialists. In 2004, the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) returned the work to Martin Brunn’s heirs.

The German Savings Bank Finance Group was and is committed to preserving the unique painting as part of the national cultural heritage. On behalf of the German Savings Bank Finance Group, DekaBank purchased the “Watzmann” and gave it to the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz on permanent loan. This meant that the work could remain in the Alte Nationalgalerie. To this day, the Friedrichsaal still attracts the attention of museum visitors – and captivates them with a masterpiece of cultural history.

A life for photography: Michael Schmidt

He is one of the most important contemporary photographersMichael Schmidt. Like almost no other photographer, he managed to capture the attitude to life of his time. His works have been shown in numerous solo exhibitions in his home city of Berlin and in the world’s most renowned museums, such as New York’s MoMA.

His work has served as a model for numerous younger artists. Shortly before his death in 2014, he received the prestigious Prix Pictet for his series “Food”. The Deka Art Collection owns some photographs from this series.

The “Stiftung für Fotografie und Medienkunst mit Archiv Michael Schmidt" (Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive) was founded in 1999. Together with other partners, Deka has been one of its sponsors since that time. The foundation pursues two goals:

1. Promoting contemporary photography and media art from 1970 onwards

2. Preserving works and archives of important contemporary photographers and media artists

In this partnership, we would like to support the reappraisal of the life work of Michael Schmidt in order to show the importance of this artist for contemporary photography and art. Our involvement with the “Stiftung für Fotografie und Medienkunst mit Archiv Michael Schmidt” also has a meaningful and credible connection with the Deka Art Collection.
© Stiftung für Fotografie und Medienkunst mit Archiv Michael Schmidt, Foto: W. Günzel
Stiftung für Fotografie und Medienkunst mit Archiv Michael Schmidt, Foto: W. Günzel

Works from the series "Lebensmittel" (2006-2010) by Michael Schmidt in the premises of the Deka

Michael Schmidt's life work on a tour of Europe

For the past five years, we have supported the "Stiftung für Fotografie und Medienkunst mit Archiv Michael Schmidt" in realising a retrospective in the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin, which has presented the life work of Michael Schmidt for the first time.

The retrospective will be shown afterwards in the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (28 September 2021 - 28 February 2022) and Albertina Museum, Vienna (24 March - 12 June 2022).