Why do banks buy so much art? To earn prestige apparently. Yet that prestige may come at a cost as banks do not want to be seen spending extravagantly in the wake of the mortgage crisis and bailouts.


Few banks collect art to make money. A liquidation auction of art from collapsed investment bank Lehman Brothers in London on Sept. 29, for example, raised $2.6 million. Not bad, but it won’t make a dent in the $613 billion in liabilities the bank had run up when it folded.”