NORD/LB establishes cultural foundation

Foundation capital to be funded from the sale of Koons’ sculpture "Tulips"

NORD/LB Norddeutsche Landesbank is going to establish a cultural foundation headquartered in Hanover, Germany, that will bundle and intensify its funding of art and culture during the course of the year. In order to fund the foundation, the bank will part from the sculpture “Tulips” by Jeff Koons. The sculpture is planned to be sold at an international auction this autumn. The proceeds of the auction are to be used to fund the capitalization of the foundation.

“Plans for a NORD/LB cultural foundation have been around for awhile”, explained NORD/LB CEO Dr. Gunter Dunkel. After having been repeatedly approached by parties who have submitted offers for the Koons sculpture, the idea arose to use the proceeds of the sale for the capitalization of a cultural foundation in order to enable regional art and cultural projects. The bank’s owners approved an according proposal of the management board on December 12, 2011.

“It is with a heavy heart that we part from the tulips. This presents us, however, with the possibility in the future to set impulses by sponsoring a variety of art and cultural projects within our operating area” said Dunkel. “Of course it is wonderful for us to be able to present a Koons’ sculpture, but after weighing the advantages and disadvantages, we have decided to further our work as patron of the arts in our region. This will allow us to make a considerable contribution towards the enrichment of the cultural scene in northern Germany. The cultural site of Hanover will also benefit significantly.”

Since March 2004, the Tulips (1995-2004, high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating, 2.03 m x 4.57 m x 5.20 m) have been a permanent installation in the courtyard of the NORD/LB headquarters in Hanover. The bank acquired the sculpture in February 2002 for 2.5 million dollars. A number of inquiries as well as auctions of comparable works have indicated that the current market value is considerably higher than the original purchase price.

The bank is currently in negotiations with several international auction houses. The ca. 4-ton heavy stainless steal sculpture is to be removed and refurbished by a specialist firm in the near future.

The sponsoring commitment of the NORD/LB

Since its foundation, NORD/LB has been involved as a patron of culture and of the arts in Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. It is, for example, a sponsor of major music festivals such as the Kurt Weill Festival in Dessau, the Usedom Music Festival, the Festival of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the Lower Saxony Music Festival and the Handel Festival Göttingen. Another focus is the commitment to museums and art associations, e.g. through sponsoring exhibitions or via the acquisition of works of art. This has made it possible to preserve and make accessible to the public various collections of works by Kurt Schwitters, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, FK Waechter and Ronald Searle.

Since 1999, the NORD/LB also operates its own art gallery in Hanover and owns an extensive collection of contemporary art since 1945. Works from Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Louise Bourgeois, Rebecca Horn, Jörg Immendorff, Per Kirkeby, Jannis Kounellis, Sol LeWitt, Markus Lüpertz, Jonathan Meese, Sigmar Polke, Neo Rauch, Gerhard Richter, Robert Rauschenberg, and Cy Twombly, as well as additional works from Jeff Koons (the color lithographies “Flowers” and “Untitled [Dow]”, the grano lithography “Donkey” and the porcelain sculpture “Balloon Dog”) can be found among the collection of over 3,000 works.

In addition to its sponsorship of culture and the arts that NORD/LB plans to operate through its new foundation, the bank will of course continue its extensive commitment to social and charitable projects, as well as its funding of the sciences.

High resolution photos of the sculpture “Tulips” can be downloaded and used for media purposes:
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NORD/LB Corporate Communication
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30159 Hannover

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