Will Tough Times Trigger Wealthy Banks and Companies to Sell their Art?

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LONDON (AP).-Corporations worried about the bottom line are taking a look at their office walls. Over decades, many of the world’s wealthiest banks and companies have built up art collections, rich in modern masters, that are the envy of many museums. Now, some are selling off works that adorn offices and boardrooms — some from choice, but others to pay off hungry creditors. The latter category includes collapsed bank Lehman Brothers, whose multimillion-dollar collection of works by Damien Hirst, Gerhard Richter and others is going under the hammer next month. “Over the last five or six years we’ve dealt with more and more corporate as well as private clients,” said Saul Ingram, head of European corporate art services at Sotheby’s auction house. “Obviously there have been economic changes in the last couple of years, and I think that has heralded a change in attitudes — that these collections need to be trimmed,