After extensive renovation work, Villa Romana will be re-opened on September 7. The artists’ retreat in Florence was founded more than a century ago to create a forum for contemporary art that is shaped by the artists themselves and independent from the state. The largest private sponsor of the Patrons’ Association of Villa Romana is Deutsche Bank Foundation; additional contributions are provided by the other members of the Patrons’ Association and the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
Villa Romana was extensively rejuvenated during the past few months under the aegis of its new Director, Angelika Stepken. The architectural studio Bacciochi, renowned for its careful restoration of landmark buildings, was commissioned with the modernization and renovation work. The reopening will take place as part of a celebration attended by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, Minister of State Bernd Neumann, the Mayor of Florence, Leonardo Domenici and the Chairman of the Deutsche Bank Foundation’s Management Board, Dr. Tessen von Heydebreck.
Each year the Patrons’ Association of Villa Romana makes it possible for artists from Germany to live in Florence for a period of study. Founded in 1905 by Max Klinger, the Villa Romana Fellowship is not just the oldest German art prize, but it also represents Deutsche Bank’s longest cultural commitment: for more than 80 years, the company has supported this renowned award for contemporary art in Germany, thus impressively documenting the bank’s tradition of support for promising artists.
“With this support, specially talented, mostly younger artists can live and work for ten months in the artists’ house,” explains Dr. Tessen von Heydebreck. “A vital art scene requires two things: not only the appropriate living and working conditions for the artists, but also an audience, for whom the interaction with art is also an enriching and natural part of life. Villa Romana today presents itself as an international and networked forum for contemporary art in Florence, through its exhibitions as well, and this corresponds to Deutsche Bank’s own cultural identity.”
“By artists for artists” was the declared motto of the founder and German painter Max Klinger. The history of the Villa Romana Fellowship is associated with numerous renowned artists. Thus, the fellows included Max Beckmann, Käthe Kollwitz and Ernst Barlach; Georg Baselitz and Markus Lüpertz; Karin Sander, Katharina Grosse, Dellbrügge & de Moll as well as Amelie von Wulffen. It is characteristic for the Villa Romana Fellowship that it often is awarded at the start of an international career. In addition to this sponsorship, there is another connection to Deutsche Bank: most of the prize-winning artists, like the ones specified above, also have works in the bank’s art collection. For example, artworks by both Georg Baselitz and Markus Lüpertz were presented in large international solo exhibitions from the Deutsche Bank Collection. And Karin Sander created her temporary project “wordsearch” in 2002 for the bank’s “Moment” art series.
The reopening of Villa Romana forms an additional highlight in Deutsche Bank’s cultural program this year in Italy. This spring, for example, the DB Collection Italy was inaugurated in the bank’s new Italian head offices in Milan. The local exhibition comprises artworks by contemporary Italian and international artists, as well as renowned classics, together with five commissioned works of Milan artists, who present a multi-facetted image of Italy.
Furthermore, at the 56th Venice Biennale, the bank is providing its support for the first time as the main sponsor of the German Pavilion, for which the artist Isa Genzken created her highly acclaimed project “Oil”.
Details on Deutsche Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility activities are available at www.deutsche-bank.com/csr.
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Deutsche Bank’s Corporate Social Responsibility
Deutsche Bank is committed to the realization of a large number of charitable activities which go beyond the sphere of the company’s business: through donations and sponsorships, the bank’s own projects and, to no small part, employees’ volunteer work.
With a sponsorship volume of more than € 85 million, the bank, together with its Foundations and non-profit organizations, is an active global corporate citizen dedicated to sustainability.
The bank’s commitment in education, community development, art and music focuses on sustainably solving complex problems, promoting cultural diversity, supporting young talented people and disadvantaged youths in their development, and developing answers to the urgent socio-political questions of today through international dialogue. In this context, the bank’s commitment goes beyond its financial support and encompasses the bank’s professional knowledge, its own projects as well as the voluntary initiatives of the bank’s employees.
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