Art appreciation and collecting is a passion that, through its visual and emotional impact, has the ability to enrich lives. The visceral response a collector has to a particular work of art is of great importance and can sometimes be so powerful that the desire to obtain it is best described as a compulsion. Increasingly, however, astute business leaders are also recognising the possible corporate benefits of art collecting, which can include corporate responsibility initiatives, a means to inspire employees in the work place, or a way of promoting the company image and branding by association. Some of today’s greatest art collections have been assembled by family businesses. In this article, Robin Woodhead, Executive Vice President and International Chairman of the global art auction house Sotheby’s, explores the benefits of creating an art collection and raises the crucial considerations for doing so.

Art’s Role in Corporate Social Responsibility

Family businesses all over the world have been known to play a crucial role in furthering the arts and the art market. The Arabian Gulf region, for example, provides some excellent examples of family businesses that have identified investment in art as a means to enhance business:

The Abraaj Group Art Prize, the world’s largest of its kind, reflects the Naqvi family’s desire for the Dubai-based investor firm to channel ‘giving back’ to the community through art. Not only have they made their world-class private art collection, which was assembled over the course of many years open to the public but family has gone one step further by encouraging the next generation of artists in the MENA region through awarding a generous annual prize.