Works from the Atlantic Richfield Company

The following selection of artworks comes from the Atlantic Richfield Company Art Collection, an assemblage that was at one time the largest corporate art collection in the world.

Bauhaus master Herbert Bayer first met the legendary oilman Robert O. Anderson in Aspen, where Bayer was working for the industrialist Walter Paepcke. This meeting marked the beginning of a long friendship and sparked Anderson’s passion for contemporary art. He became an insatiable collector, his assemblage of paintings and sculptures eventually overflowed from his home and into his company offices. With the formulation of the Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) in the 1960s, Anderson assigned Bayer as the company’s Art and Design Consultant responsible for not only overseeing the growing collection, but also for directing corporate branding, architecture and office design. By the time Anderson had moved the ARCO headquarters to Los Angeles, the collection had grown to nearly 3,000 works housed in the newly-built, fifty-one story ARCO Plaza.

As the company grew, so did the collection and artwork was sent to be displayed in offices across the country, occupying executive suites and common areas, lobbies and even copy rooms. Under Bayer’s direction the collection grew to over 15,000 works ranging from original paintings and works on paper, to photography and tribal art, managed and cataloged by the ARCO Corporate Art Collection staff.

When asked why he invested in contemporary art, Anderson explained, “Because I like it. It makes you think. I didn't get where I am because I took the same path as everyone else. One of the reasons ARCO is successful is that I encourage my people to look at all issues from every possible angle. That's one of the many reasons contemporary art is beneficial to society. It inspires you to think outside the box and use your imagination. If you examine a problem closely and think about all the possible solutions, you'll come up with the best possible answer. That's part of what made ARCO a success”.

Anderson retired from ARCO in 1986 and when the Atlantic Richfield Oil company was purchased by British Petroleum in 2000, the company’s then chairman ordered that the collection be liquidated. Portions of the collection were offered at auction as well as donated to various institutions. Prior to his death in 1985, Herbert Bayer requested that a collection of his work which had been housed in the ARCO’s Santa Barbara offices should be donated to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

127

JEDD GARET

Stump, Center Structure and Lush Life (three works)

131

SANDRO CHIA

Mechanical Figure I and II (two works)

134

LAURIE ANDERSON

Mt. Daly/US IV

144

JULES OLITSKI

Bright Orange no. 6

145

RONALD DAVIS

Triangle Slice

147

JEDD GARET

Nice Sky and Blood (two works)

148

MIMMO PALADINO

Caverne Minacchoise

159

RICHARD BOSMAN

Double Trouble

160

HERBERT BAYER

Untitled

163

RICHARD BOSMAN

Adversaries

170

ERNEST TROVA

Untitled (from Shadows, Planes and Targets portfolio)

171

HERBERT BAYER

Celestial River

191

RONALD DAVIS

Rotation Tilt

225

ROBERT INDIANA

The American Four

226

NICHOLAS KRUSHENICK

Untitled (from the R3-67 series)

227

ARNALDO POMODORO

Untitled

228

MAX BILL

Plate IX, from 11 x 4:4

236

ROBERT KUSHNER

Pomegranates and Lilies, Eve, Climbing Roses and Flowered Mat (from the Joy of Ornament series)

240

LOUISA CHASE

Chasm

241

LEONARD KOSCIANSKI

Fire-Eaters