In 1994 New Zealand artist Jane Crosbie made art history. Selected from artists all over the world Jane Crosbie set a precedent by being the only artist ever chosen to represent the ANZ Grindlays Bank Group as their official Middle Eastern equine artist. A feat made all the more remarkable considering still no other artist has been awarded this very prestigious honour. To date – right up until now – there has only ever been one official ANZ Grindlays Bank Group equine artist in the 100 year plus history of the bank – Jane Crosbie.
Discovered at the World Trade Fair in Dubai Jane Crosbie rapidly became the topic of conversation on everyone’s lips, with her art capturing the respect and affection of the public of the Middle East. Within days of her first exhibition in Dubai opening news of her paintings spread until her reputation reached the marketing department of ANZ Grindlyas Bank Corporate Head Office.
Pat Maclaren then marketing manager for ANZ Grindlays throughout the Middle Eastern region said: “Everyone who came into our bank at the World Trade Fair asked if we’d seen the amazing art of this great artist from New Zealand. Jane was a huge hit with our staff and customers alike who raved about the beauty, the power and passion, the strong positive high octane, even explosive energy within her dynamic paintings. We had to go see what everyone was talking about. We had to see why this particular artist had captured both the imagination and respect of the public so fast. Hundreds of artists were being represented at the World Trade Fair but none gained the popularity that Jane did. We wanted to find out what made this artist so unique, so different, what reasons warranted such public affection. We met. Then after hearing Jane intended returning to New Zealand within the week the suggestion was made that ANZ Grindlays Bank Group sponsor her to return to the Middle East to exhibit her art again. We gave in to mounting public pressure. Due to the immense public interest in her art and her growing reputation we decided to commission a series of exhibitions of Janes art to tour the Middle East. We titled the exhibitions “Legends of the Turf” and commissioned Jane to paint over 50 of the greatest equine legends from the Arabian and Thoroughbred breeds.
There is no place for whimsy in the tough competitive world of international banking – particularly in the Middle East. The hard commercial fact was Jane Crosbie was already regarded by the public as a ‘great’ artist. We felt she had the potential and talent to further develop the respect and affection of millions more people. By commissioning this series of exhibitions of equine legends we hoped to add to a vast complex of myth and legend centring around an equine artist fast gaining a reputation as a legend herself. Our partnership was a firm business decision formed with the objective of bringing together the banking and equine communities and the art world.”