European Central Bank
60314 Frankfurt am Main
The ECB art collection and temporary exhibitions are open to the public by guided tours only.
For further information on the tours please visit the website.
Since 1997, the ECB has been exhibiting and collecting young contemporary art from the EU member states to showcase the richness and diversity of contemporary art in a united Europe and to enable staff and visitors to become familiar with it. Under the guidance of an Art Committee the ECB thereby fosters the European integration process and lives up to its responsibilities as an EU institution. The collection currently comprises around 500 works of art, including various media such as painting, drawing, print, photography, sculpture and site-specific installations, which are on display at the three buildings in Frankfurt am Main and the offices in Brussels and Washington.
The collection grows gradually mainly by means of acquisitions of artworks showcased in the annual exhibition series “Contemporary art from the member states of the European Union”. The series aims to provide a broad insight in the diversity of contemporary art in Europe by presenting a different country every year. Thus, the collection has by now become a chronicle, reflecting on the developments in contemporary art in Europe since the 1990s as well as on the temporal context in which the collection has been created and continues to grow.
On top of that, since 2015, the collection has been complemented by theme-specific acquisitions for the individual buildings, reflecting upon their interior and emphasizing their own character.
In 2019, the ECB launched its ECB ART App, available in the Apple and Google stores, that aims to provide an entirely new form of access to the ECB art collection, the annual country exhibitions, as well as to the architecture and the history of its main building. The artworks featured in the app are accompanied by high-resolution images, short explanatory texts, an audio guide and - where applicable - an exclusive video interview with the artist and videos with background information on the installation process or the related performance. Step by step, the start version will be expanded to include the whole art collection comprised of 500 artworks.
The purpose of the app is to open the ECB´s art collection to the virtual space and engage, not only with ECB staff and visitors onsite, but also with anyone interested in art that might not be able to visit the ECB art collection first hand. When onsite, one can use the image recognition function to scan the artwork and instantly view an in-depth information page specific to that artwork. To further enhance the art experience, augmented reality has been added to some artworks.
By implementing the application the ECB aims to be among the most forward-thinking and leading institutional art collections in the digital era.
Status of collection:
Inspired by the new possibilities given through building its own premises in Frankfurt am Main, the ECB launched an art-on-site competition for the iconic new main building in February 2014.
The three site-specific artworks created by Giuseppe Penone, Nedko Solakov and Liam Gillick were installed in 2015. These three renowned artists are the winners of the EU-wide, two-stage invitational art-on-site competition for the new ECB premises. In order to create the conceptual link between the works and the ECB, the leitmotif of “stability and independence”, a synthesis of two cornerstones of the ECB’s values, was given to the art on site competition. Against this background each artist created a work of art for one of the three different locations – outside the main entrance, on the ground floor of the high-rise and in the foyer of the conference area situated in the Grossmarkthalle, the heritage listed building which is part of the new ECB premises.
Liam Gillick, “Fourier Transform (Located)”
Giuseppe Penone, “Gravity and Growth”
Nedko Solakov, “A Site-Specific Piece on Stand-by”
The artworks were inaugurated together with Thomas Bayrle’s site-specific work “New Frankfurters, 1980” on 6 October 2015.
In 2017, for the second time the ECB is conducting an art-on-site competitions, in this case for the foyer of the Eurotower in the city centre. The National Central Banks of the European Union were invited to nominate two artists each to take part in the competition. Out of these nominees, a Jury has shortlisted six artists to participate in the second stage of the competition for creating a proposal for an artwork specifically designed for this space, referencing the theme “persistency and independence” – two core values the ECB’s Banking supervision, which is hosted in the Eurotower, is committed to. In a second Jury meeting in February 2018, the best proposal will be identified and realised to be installed at the Eurotower.
Additionally, when acquiring artworks for the collection from the ECB exhibition series “Contemporary art from the member states of the European Union”, special efforts are made to have one site-specific work among the exhibition to enter the collection. This way, the ECB art collection is continuously shaped and conceptually profiled.
Profile of the company:
The European Central Bank (ECB) is the central bank of the 19 European Union countries which have adopted the euro. Our mission is to serve the people of Europe by safeguarding the value of the euro and maintaining price stability. Furthermore we are responsible for the prudential supervision of credit institutions located in the euro area and participating non-euro area Member States, within the Single Supervisory Mechanism, which also comprises the national competent authorities. It thereby contributes to the safety and soundness of the banking system and the stability of the financial system within the EU and each participating Member State.
Number of employees: