These are the biggest sponsors of art fairs
From TEFAF to Art Basel, wherever art and people are brought together, there are sponsors who help make this possible.
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01-02-2023, 16:41
From TEFAF to Art Basel, wherever art and people are brought together, there are sponsors who help make this possible. You will regularly see these three brands on the sponsorship list of art fairs.
Ruinart
Ruinart

This champagne brand, part of luxury conglomerate LVMH since 1987, is the oldest champagne house in the world. By sponsoring art and art fairs, the company hopes to stay "active, fresh, relevant and current".  

In this, the champagne house takes no half measures. Ruinart sponsors as many as 35 art fairs, including Art Basel, Frieze Art and PAN Amsterdam. In addition, the brand provides financial support for exhibitions, photo competitions and individual artists.  

Ruinart is certainly not the only champagne house that posters itself with art. Pommery (Frieze), Bollinger (TEFAF) and Taittinger (BRAFA) also attach their names to art fairs. There is, of course, a parallel to be drawn between art and champagne. Both are about quality, stimulating the senses and taste.  

And there is also a lot of overlap in customer demographics. Both champagne brands and art fairs target discerning consumers who appreciate the good things in life and who also have the liquidity to buy thousands of dollars' worth of art and prestige bubbles. 

A positive side effect of serving champagne during VIP evenings and art fair vernissages is that a glass of wine (or two) enhances the visitors' experience of the fair and also reduces any inhibitions about pulling out a credit card. So exhibitors also benefit from this sponsorship.

BMW

For more than 50 years, BMW has been involved in art worldwide. The luxury car brand sponsors more than 100 cultural collaborations and is particularly focused on modern and contemporary art, classical music, jazz, architecture and design. 

Back in 1975, the German car brand introduced Art Cars, an initiative in which artists were invited to use a BMW as a canvas. The first collaboration was with Alexander Calder, and many famous artists were to follow, including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jenny Holzer, John Baldessari, Jeff Koons and David Hockney.  

BMW also sponsors art galleries, orchestras and festivals. Tate Modern in London, Art Basel, London Symphony Orchestra, Frieze Art, TEFAF, BRAFA Art Fair, Paris Photo, Art D'Égypte, Art Dubai - they all benefit from BMW patronage.  

BMW also sponsors individual artists. One way the car brand does this is through the BMW Art Journey, a collaboration between Art Basel and BMW created to recognise and support emerging artists worldwide. The initiative can take an artist almost anywhere in the world - to research, network, reflect and create new work.

AXA

Insurer AXA is another sponsor you regularly see on the partner list of art fairs. For more than 15 years, they have sponsored major art events around the world, such as Art Basel, FIAC and Art Chicago. AXA is also the main sponsor of TEFAF.  

Like BMW, AXA also invests in individual artists, with the AXA Art Prize. This prize puts emerging artists in the spotlight and allows them to have their work viewed by curators from major and influential US museums such as The Met, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Art.    

Axa states on its website that it links to art because art "inspires and enriches our lives". But there are of course business benefits for the insurance company in sponsoring art fairs. AXA Art Insurance is the branch that specialises in insuring fine art and collectibles. AXA really wants to excel in this, as evidenced, for example, by its investments in technological research into art conservation in the case of synthetic materials. With acrylic paints in particular, this conservation sometimes poses problems.  

For AXA Art Insurance, art fairs are of course the events of choice to get in touch with (potential) customers. The partnership with AXA is also interesting for the art fair organisers. AXA Art can invite its own customer base: guests whose interest in art and purchasing power are guaranteed. 

Other art fair sponsors

Of course, there are many more brands joining forces with art fairs. Some of the names we came across on the sponsorship list:

 

Finance/Insurance
  • Bank of America (TEFAF New York) 
  • PWC (TEFAF) 
  • Rabobank (TEFAF) 
  • Parts Private Bank (BRAFA Art Fair) 
  • Deutsche Bank (Frieze) 
  • UBS (Art Basel) 
  • Tezos (Paris+ par Art Basel) 
  • J. Safra Sarasin (PAN Amsterdam) 
  • Nationale Nederlanden (Art Rotterdam) 
  • KPMG Meijburg & Co (Unseen Amsterdam)

 

Consumer brands
  • Audermars Piguet (Art Basel) 
  • Louis Vuitton (Art Basel Miami and PARIS+ par Art Basel) 
  • Breguet (Frieze) 
  • COS (Milan Design Week, Frieze) 
  • Mini (Afforable Art Fair) 
  • LG Oled (Frieze, Fine Art Asia) 
  • Illy (Frieze, La Biennale di Venezia) 
  • La Prairie (Art Basel, Frieze) 
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Read more about sponsors and their invitees in our paper

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