Many Hollywood stars and music industry leaders are turning art collecting into an inspiring hobby and profitable investment.
Famous faces are making regular appearances at Art Basel, museum benefits, and auctions. While personal tastes vary–these art collecting celebs have walls in their homes that would rival any gallery show.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s Art Collection
Call DiCaprio “The Wolf of Wall Art.” This guy is a fixture on the art auction circuit. He may try to keep a low profile with a cap pulled low over his eyes, but it’s hard for him to hide once the bidding starts.
One of DiCaprio’s first big art purchases was a Jean-Michel Basquiat drawing. He told the Wall Street Journal, “I’ve continued to be a huge admirer of Basquiat.”
He has also purchased work by Andy Warhol, Picasso, Takashi Murakami, Oscar Murillo, Walton Ford, Ed Ruscha, and Mark Ryden.
DiCaprio has even found ways to combine his philanthropic work with art appreciation. In 2013, he held “The 11th Hour Sale” a Christie’s charity auction to benefit some of his environmental causes. During the event, DiCaprio purchased a painting by his friend Walton Ford for $250,000. At Sean Penn’s Haiti Rising Gala charity auction in Beverly Hills, DiCaprio purchased a work by Ed Ruscha for $125,000.
Last year, DiCaprio made headlines for having to surrender a $3.2 million Picasso and a $9 million Basquiat to the US government. The works were connected to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad embezzlement scandal. Because the art in question were gifts, DiCaprio was not charged with any crimes or implicated in any wrongdoing. A statement from the actor about the pieces read, “Mr. DiCaprio is grateful for the support of the government in this effort and continues to hope that justice is done in this matter.”
Because of the immense value of the artwork DiCaprio deals in, he often consults advisors, like his art dealer friend David Nahmad, before making large purchases.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Love of Art
Beyoncé and Jay-Z have several ties to the art world. Jay performed his song “Picasso Baby” at Pace Gallery in 2013. Beyoncé hired the Ethiopian artist Awol Erizku to take her pregnancy-announcement photos, and the resulting images “broke the internet.” Erizku’s work is known for colorful compositions that repurpose found objects. He said in a 2015 interview, “I make things that I want to see in the world.” He wasn’t the only artist to be inspired by Queen B and Jay. Damien Hirst has also made two artworks inspired by the couple.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z have collected art from Andy Warhol, Richard Prince, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, George Condo, Laurie Simmons, David Hammons, Richard Prince, and Ed Ruscha.
The couple regularly attends Art Basel in Miami. Beyoncé also shared some insight into her love of the artist Basquiat on her blog, “What I find in the artwork of Jean-Michel Basquiat I search for every day in music. His art is musical, his broad strokes, he is lyrical and raw.”
In 2014, Jay-Z dressed up like Basquiat and Beyoncé went out as artist Frida Kahlo for Halloween. Art is a way of life for these two.
Brad Pitt’s Art and Furniture
In addition to his collaboration with Frank Pollaro making art deco furniture, Pitt made a splash at Art Basel Switzerland in 2009 when he dropped $1 million on Neo Rauch’s colorful 9-foot long racetrack painting “Etappe.”
Pitt has also been a long-term donor to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art–even applying at one point to serve on their board.
Appraisers estimate Pitt’s art collection to be worth $25 million. His holdings include works by Banksy, Dom Pattinson, Ed Ruscha and Richard Serra.
Since his split from Angelina Jolie, Pitt has turned his attention to art making. He spent a month at the studio of artist Thomas Houseago learning how to make sculpture.
Other Notable Celebrity Art Collectors
Madonna was a young club kid when the pop art movement and Andy Warhol’s warehouse took over New York City. She dated Basquiat for a hot minute in the 1980s and now has an art collection worth $100 million. She has been friends with many successful artists during her long career.
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka have a Harlem townhouse filled with art. They especially like the oil painting in their living room by artist Kehinde Wiley.
David and Victoria Beckham are well-known patrons on the art circuit too.
Victoria teamed up with Sotheby’s earlier this year for a curated exhibition of 16 paintings by “Old Masters.” She handpicked all of the pieces displayed.
David and Victoria have filled their home with “love-themed” art from some of the hottest artists on the market. For his daughter Harper’s birthday, David commissioned a piece entitled “Daddy’s Girl” from Damien Hirst. Victoria purchased a neon heart by Tracy Emin that says, “I Felt You And I Knew You Loved Me.” The couple has gifted each other artwork by Emin for years.
Their enviable collection also includes works by Jeff Koons, Banksy, Eddie Peake, Yayoi Kusama and Andy Warhol.