Deutsche Bank has been supporting the arts for more than 35 years. Art is a pillar of the organisation’s ‘Art, Culture & Sports’ division and the bank strives to strengthen its cultural diversity.
Their thriving partnership with the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists has produced one of the most exciting recent additions to the Birmingham art calendar – the RBSA Charity Auction. It’s hosted by Deutsche Bank at Brindleyplace, and raises funds for both the RBSA and one of the bank’s chosen UK Charities of the Year, Cure Leukaemia.
The auction takes place on November 20 and with tickets priced at just £10 and more than 50 artworks up for grabs, the auction really is a great opportunity to start, or build, an art collection of your own.
When Head of Deutsche Bank, Birmingham, Paul Anderson joined the bank, he immediately noticed the prominence of art on the walls.
‘All the meeting rooms are named after artists and when you are promoted, you are afforded the privilege of being allowed to choose what goes on your walls from the inventory.
‘You are always surrounded by art in our buildings, from the moment you enter … the communal spaces have some really big sculptural pieces.’
Paul relocated to Birmingham through work, and was introduced to the RBSA, which is one of the oldest art societies in the UK.
‘I was smitten,’ he says. ‘There’s something for everyone; from ceramics to oils, cool contemporary art, jewellery … people need to know more about what the RBSA has to offer.
‘I got to know their Director, Marie Considine, and President Rob Neil and we made links with the Deutsche Bank sport and social network. Our staff regularly visit the Gallery off St Paul’s Square to see artist demonstrations and talks.
‘One of our previous Charities of the Year was Autistica, and it was a conversation about how to make communal spaces more welcoming for families with autistic children that led to the first Charity Auction in 2017.
‘This year, we are supporting Cure Leukaemia. The Charity Auction is a great way to raise money for good causes, and it also showcases the breadth of what the RBSA does.’
‘We wanted to give people an authentic saleroom experience. Charity auctions can often be about celebrities trying to get you to go on a weekend away that you don’t really want; I was once at an event where they used a livestock auctioneer and nobody understood a word!’
‘But Bonhams got the balance just right at the first RBSA auction in terms of excitement and pace. It was also great that the auctioneer could see that some people were less experienced at buying art at auction and slowed things down.’
‘The event works really well, with pieces ranging from tens of pounds to thousands, so anyone from our junior staff to wealthy patrons of the arts can bid.’
Cure Leukaemia has commissioned portrait artist Louise Cobbold to donate a work featuring rock legend Robert Plant, which the former Led Zeppelin singer signed at a recent Wolverhampton Wanderers match.
Paul added: ‘It’s a great way for the charity to get people in the room who want to support the charity. There may be people there who have spent a lot of time in hospital, looking at the art on the walls during treatment.
Of his own experience of an RBSA auction, Paul says: ‘You browse the auction catalogue beforehand, but of course the art looks much better actually in the room, where the size and scale of the works becomes apparent. We are taking real care as the host venue to ensure the works are lit effectively, and that people get time to browse the lots before proceedings begin.
‘I remember seeing the Andrew Matheson pieces and it would never have occurred to me to buy ceramics, but the piece I bought was just an aesthetically pleasing thing I found I didn’t want to go home without.
‘When the lot number came up I was a bit nervous and other bidders came in, but I got it for a very affordable price.’
Paul hopes to see art lovers and those new to buying art at this year’s Charity Auction: ‘We’d love to welcome charity supporters, people with connections to the art scene in Birmingham, those who support the RBSA, and people new to buying art.
‘It’s a fantastic event, and two very good causes are at the heart of it.’
The RBSA Charity Auction takes place on November 20, 5.30pm at Deutsche Bank, 5 Brindleyplace, Birmingham B1 2BL. Doors open at 5pm for viewing of artworks and networking.
You can purchase your ticket for £10 by:
- Paying by cash in person at the Gallery
- Calling the Gallery on 0121 236 4353 to pay by card over the phone
- Sending a cheque in the post (payable to ‘RBSA’) to RBSA, 4 Brook St, Birmingham B3 1SA
- By paying via our website
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Banner image: David White RBSA ‘St Ives Harbour’
Framed: h 44 x w 49. Lino-cut print (edition of 20). Estimate: £150.