Artolease: Artists of the workplace

A man standing on a city street

Launched only one month ago, start-up company Artolease is offering up the option to cover the grey and monotonous walls of New York City based companies with artwork.

The minds behind this innovative concept are two Frenchmen, Victor Le Fell and Théodore Bajard, determined to turn art into a communication tool in its own right.

We sell “fine art”, reminds Théodore Bajard, in charge of the business side of Artolease. We aren’t interested in mere decorations.” Their depot certainly has nothing to do with the bog-standard “postcard” photographs of New York that are too often put up in offices.

More than 200 pieces of modern art are available for rent: sculptures, paintings, photography and even the work of grand masters (De Kooning) as well as eight contemporary artists including German artist Peter Klasen or the more local Jeremy Holmes.

Our goal is to offer visibility to current artists who are beginning to be known in the art world as well as exposing them in a novel environment, Explains Mr Bajard. It’s a real investment.”

For this business studies graduate, the presence of artwork in a company’s quarters enhances reputation and credibility. “There is an undeniable aesthetic aspect, but the difference is, that these are pieces of history that stimulate reflexion and thought.”

It is also a source of wellbeing and motivation for employees. “There is no question that admiring artwork is a much better use of your lunch break than browsing Facebook” claims this young entrepreneur.

Companies can lease a work of art for a minimum period of three months and then chose to extend the rental or pick another piece. “This rotation system allows us to bring novelty to the workplace” adds Victor Le Fell, who manages Artolease’s relation with galleries and artists.

It is worth mentioning that companies can also choose to purchase works of art. A De Kooning, one of the collection’s priciest artists, will set you back 90 000$, with a rental price of 2000$ a month.

If Artolease’s catalogue offers accessible items (ranging from 75$ to 600$ a month), artwork rental remains a rather niche market. “This is why we want to stand out from what is already available by offering a high quality service and by offering it to an exclusive clientele. Everyone isn’t worthy of art.”

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