From Pre-Raphaelite paintings to Gothic horror statues, celebrities use their wealth to collect art of all kinds. Some collect because it’s an escape from their busy careers, some use their collections to transform their space, and others because they connect to the creativity of the artists.
8 Guillermo del Toro
Academy Award winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro has said that the best thing he’s ever done is actually his art filled home called Bleak House. In the past, del Toro has had the gothic work from his home displayed in an autobiographical exhibition. The works displayed included paintings, models, poetry collections, massive Kaiju sculptures, and monsters from his own films.
“Most people negate or satanize — demonize — darkness in themselves, rather than trying to understand it,” del Toro explained to CBC. “Monsters are a way to make peace with the other.”
7 David Bowie
Iconic musician David Bowie had a passion for collecting fine art. In his private collection were works by LA sculptor Peter Shire, contemporary artist Damien Hirst, Frank Auerbach, Peter Lanyon, and Marcel Duchamp. He also owned several works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, who Bowie felt a strong artistic connection to.
“It comes as no surprise to learn that [Basquiat] had a not-so-hidden ambition to be a rock musician,” Bowie told Sothebys of the celebrated artist, “his work relates to rock in ways that very few other visual artists get near.”
6 Steve Martin
Widely known for his skill as a comedic actor, less know that Steve Martin collects art in his free time.
“Collecting art is my biggest hobby,” Martin said, “Art is so different from what I do that it’s an escape for me… It’s like, good grief, these things are so beautiful—how did this happen?”
He bought his first painting at the age of twenty-one, a work by the 19th century artist James Gale Tyler.
5 Sylvester Stallone
Sylvester Stallone is an artist in his own right who created between 300 and 400 works and exhibits around the world.
The actor also invests frequently in fine art. One such work, that Stallone paid over $1 Million for – was the source of famous art world controversy back in 1989, when the actor sued his art advisor for selling it to him.
4 Andrew Lloyd Webber
Alongside his vast collection of musical memorabilia, Andrew Lloyd Webber has what is considered one of the world’s finest collections of Victorian art. The famous composer collects works by Pre-Raphaelite masters, including one of only five oil paintings by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in private hands.
The collection will not remain private forever, however. Lord Lloyd-Webber plans to leave his art collection in trust to the nation when he dies, alongside the sets and costumes from his musicals.
3 Ellen DeGeneres & Portia de Rossi
A tour of actress Portia de Rossi and comedian Ellen DeGeneres’s home featured in Architectural Digest revealed a variety of incredible works the couple have collected, including a ping-pong table by Rirkrit Tiravanija, a woven hanging sculpture by Ruth Asawa, and a bronze feline by Diego Giacometti. The couple have also collected works by Catherine Willis, Mark Grotjahn, Ed Ruscha, and Andy Warhol.
While the celebrity couple loves collecting originals, de Rossi’s company, General Public, is designed to make having art accessible for those without millions to invest, by creating three dimensional reproductions.
A post shared by Portia de Rossi (@portiaderossi)
De Rossi explained: “ I want painters to have the ability to sell editions of their paintings to maximize their profitability. I also want the folks who really appreciate these artists to be able to own and enjoy their works as the artist intended them to be enjoyed and not just the wealthy few.”
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2 Jay Z & Beyonce
This celebrity couple has made art collecting a family business, even having their then-six-year-old place the winning $10K bid for a work by Samuel Levi Jones in 2018.
A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce)
Jay Z has made his art wish list very public in his own work many times, and there are some famous names included: Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Koons, Basquiat, and George Condo. Beyonce enjoys the work of Tracy Emin, Donald Judd, Kara Walker, and Ed Ruscha, but she also supports artists in finding a wider audience – such as photographers Awol Erizku and Tyler Mitchell.
1 Leonardo DiCaprio
DiCaprio is an avid collector, with a particular interest in the works of Basquiat, Walton Ford, Jean-Pierre Roy, and Eric White.
The environmentalist personally paid for an eco-friendly update to Chris Burden’s Urban Light installation at the LA County Museum of Art, and frequently hosts auctions to raise money for his foundation. The Academy Award winning actor has also been the subject of fine art.
In 2013, he posed for artist Elizabeth Peyton, and the piece sold for more than $1 million at auction.
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Sources: CBC, Sothebys, artnet The Telegraph, LA Times, Independent
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