Celebrity Art Collections
The impressive art collections of celebrities
14-09-2023, 18:18
Anyone who visits an art fair is likely to bump into an international celebrity. Many pop and Hollywood stars like to invest their millions earned in entertainment in art. Time to take a closer look at some celebrity collections. The art collections of Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna and Jay-Z & Beyoncé under the microscope.
Leonardo DiCaprio: from Dalí to street art

Leonardo DiCaprio is not only a gifted actor, he is also an avid art collector. His attachment to art was instilled in him at birth, as his mother named him after the painter Leonardo da Vinci because she first felt little Leo kick in her belly when she was just admiring a Da Vinci painting. That DiCaprio's mother loved art is also evidenced by the fact that she hung Hieronymus Bosch's painting 'The Garden of Delights' prominently above his cot so that little Leo could feast his eyes. This sight, he later recounted, would become one of his earliest memories.

Although DiCaprio is best known to the general public for his roles in films such as Titanic and The Wolf of Wall Street, he is certainly also known in the art world as an enthusiastic visitor to art fairs such as Art Basel Miami. Here, he acquired some very desirable works of art, including Frank Stella's 1973 'Double Gray Scramble', which he bought in 2015 for nearly $1 million.

One of DiCaprio's first art purchases was a drawing by Jean-Michel Basquiat, a work not yet publicly known. In 2005, DiCaprio reportedly acquired the also Basquiat's famous painting 'Red Man One' for $9.9 million. Street art-inspired art seems to be a common thread in DiCaprio's collection. In all likelihood, Banksy is also represented in this; in 2015, DiCaprio reportedly bought one of Banksy's most famous pieces, 'Trolley Hunters' for $1.3 million. 

Ed Ruscha, an artist known for his pop art-inspired paintings and prints, is also featured in the collection. In addition, DiCaprio is said to own several cartoonish KAWS sculptures, including 'Companion (Passing Through)', a 5-metre-high sculpture exhibited in Times Square in New York in 2010.

But there is also room for classic works, it seems. In 2011, for instance, DiCaprio purchased a work by Salvador Dalí titled 'Chevalier' at an auction at Christie's New York for $1.2 million. Other notable pieces in his collection include a small 1939 drawing by Pablo Picasso called 'Fillette', 'The Tigress' by Walton Ford, 'Untitled (Drawings off the wall)' by Murillo, and Takashi Murakami's 'Mononoke'.

In other words, the Leonardo DiCaprio-art collection is already getting off to a good start.

Madonna: strong women as red act

'The Queen of Pop' has also collected many impressive works of art over the past three decades. Even in the early years of her career, she caused a furore with her collection of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, but mostly because she had to return them to their creator. In the early 1980s, when both were on the eve of their big break, Madonna was in a relationship with Basquiat, who then donated these paintings to his lover. After their break-up, he demanded the works back, after which he painted them completely black.

But even without Basquiat's works, Madonna's art collection is definitely impressive. The value of this collection is estimated to be at least $100 million and maybe even up to $300 million. Not surprising, considering that it includes two works by Frida Kahlo, among others.

Madonna began building her art collection in 1987, when she snapped up Fernand Leger's 1944 'Les Deux Bicyclettes' for $1 million. 'Madge' also owned Leger's 'Trois Femmes a la Table Rouge', but she sold this work in 2013 for $7.2 million. She donated the proceeds to her Ray of Light Foundation, to support educational projects for girls in South Asia and the Middle East.

In an interview with Vanity Fair in 1990, Madonna also revealed that she owned a large number of Tamara de Lempicka's paintings. She even called her collection a Lempicka museum. Women seem to be the common thread in her collection anyway. Other highlights include a nude picture by Man Ray of famous French model Kiki de Montparnesse, a nude painting by Diego Rivera and Pablo Picasso's 1938 'Buste de Femme a la Frange', for which she paid nearly $5 million in 2000.

Although Madonna's art collection is rich in classics such as Kahlo and Picasso, she is not lacking in contemporary pieces. For instance, she is said to own at least one work by Damien Hirst and is also a big fan of Marilyn Minter, a video of which she used during her Sweet and Sticky tour in 2008.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z: art with a message

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are undoubtedly two of the most influential figures in the entertainment world. But in the world of contemporary art, this glamorous duo may also play a part, with an impressive and diverse art collection that betrays their love and appreciation for art. The collection covers a wide range of art forms, from painting to photography and sculpture to mixed media.

Central to their collection are works by celebrated artists such as Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst. But names such as George Condo, David Hammons and Ed Ruscha can also be found in the Jay-Z & Beyoncé Art Collection. Jean-Michel Basquiat appears to be doing well among the stars; this duo also owns works by them. In 2013, for instance, they bought his artwork 'Mecca', a piece showing the New York skyline with Basquiat's signature crown above it. 

But Beyoncé and Jay-Z dare to look beyond the established artists and also regularly buy work by up-and-coming artists. During their visit to Art Basel Miami Beach in 2012, for example, the duo bought a piece by former street artist Hebru Brantley. A relatively modest investment compared to other art purchases, betraying their nose for emerging talent. And of course, as an emerging artist, you immediately become the real deal, when Jay-Z and the Queen Bey think your work is cool.

What further stands out in their art collection is their preference for art with a message. Many of the works in their collection deal with social justice, racial identity and political issues. This reflects their commitment to using art as a means to raise important social issues. As such, their art is not just for personal enjoyment; they also regularly share their collection with the public.

Other celebrities with an art collection

Of course, there are many more celebrities with art collections. Some other famous art collectors in a row, with the names of the artists whose works they own.

Oprah Winfrey: Gustav Klimt, Richard Edward Miller, Hovsep Pushman.

Ellen Degeneres: Alexander Calder, Francois-Xavier Lalanne, Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Lady Gaga: Leigh Bowery, Francesco Vezzoli.

Elton John: Keith Haring, Philip Taaffe, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst.

Brad Pitt: Banksy, Neo Rauch, Richard Serra, Marcel Dzama.

Jack Nickleson: Amedeo Modigliani, Auguste Rodin, René Magritte, Henri Matisse.

Pharrell Williams: KAWS, Takashi Murakami, Keith Haring, Daniel Arsham.

David and Victoria Beckham: Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Banksy, Jake & Dinos Chapman.

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