An expert review and inspection of the company's total stock of art, which at that point numbered over 5,000 works, was launched in 2002 and led to certain pieces being selected to create the Bayer Collection.The collection can be roughly divided into four art-historical areas. It presented German Expressionism with works by Max Beckmann, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. The Modernism of the École de Paris – this covers the entire Paris art scene at the beginning of the 20th centuries – represented by works by the artists George Braque, Marc Chagall, Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso.
Representing post-war and informal art the collection includes artwork by Ernst Wilhelm Nay. With his free and spontaneous drawings and his intuitive use of colour this participant of the 2nd and 3rd "documenta" occupies a key position in German post-war art. The main focus is on art produced between the 1970s and today. It is in this context that the collection takes in the works by American West Coast artists like David Hockney, Sam Francis and Ed Ruscha. On display also are canvasses from German artists Gerhard Richter, Albert Oehlen, Martin Kippenberger, Jan Voss as well as photographic works by Candida Höfer and the large format polaroids of Marina Abramovic and Ulvi Ulay.
Gaps in the collection are now gradually being filled, both by expanding existing themes and adding new emphasis. In purchasing very recent works by art school graduates, Bayer is fulfilling a social responsibility to promote contemporary art and using its corporate collection to bring art to a wider audience. With the acquisition of works by very young artists over the past five years, the aim is for the constantly expanding collection to continue to pique the curiosity of employees, customers and visitors alike, and encourage communication between them. Interacting with art is a way to provoke questions, encourage thinking "outside the box" and increase people's willingness to embrace change and address challenges.
Marina Abramovic and Ulay, Pierre Alechinsky, Karel Appel, Undine Bandelin, Ernst Barlach, Max Beckmann, Hubert Berke, Georges Braque, William Brauhauser, Werner Büttner, Ernst Caramelle, Marc Chagall, Eduardo Chillida, Roberto Cordone, John Coplans, Guillaume Corneille, Karl Fred Dahmen, Lynn Davis, Jan Dibbets, Otto Dix, Joseph Fassbender, Andreas Feininger, Lyonel Feininger, Günther Förg, Sam Francis, Lee Friedländer, Giovanni da Bologna, Marven Graf, Andreas Gursky, Erich Heckel, Georg Herold, Sebastian Herzau, David Hockney, Candida Höfer, Gerhard Hoehme, Max Kaus, Martin Kippenberger, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Imi Knoebel, Henning Kürschner, Henri Laurens, Zoe Leonard, Silke Leverkühne, Sol LeWitt, Adolf Luther, Gerhard Marcks, Ewald Mataré, Georg Meistermann, Mario Merz, Manolo Millares, Joan Miró, Ernst Mollenhauer, Henry Moore, Otto Mueller, Esther Müller, Michael Morrill, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Martin Noel, Emil Nolde, Albert Oehlen, Markus Oehlen, Max Pechstein, Pablo Picasso, Otto Piene, Juan Hernández Pijuan, Gerhard Richter, Christian Rohlfs, James Rosenquist, Thomas Ruff, Ed Ruscha, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Tomas Schmit, Eva Maria Schön, Werner Scholz, Bernard Schultze, Martin Schuster, Sean Scully, David Shapiro, Beate Slansky, Frank Stella, Antoni Tàpies, Hildegard Tolkmitt, Hann Trier, Jan Voss, Andy Warhol, Mario Weinberg, Zao Wou-Ki, Michele Zalopany.