People have been collecting art since ancient times for a number of reasons. For example, some people collect art because they love the art pieces so much that they want to be able to see them whenever they please. In contrast, other people collect art because it is what people do when they move in the circles that they do. Finally, some people even collect art because they consider them to be investments with the potential to see significant appreciation should there be a surge of interest in the artists.
In the end, there are as many reasons to collect art as there are art collectors out there, though it should be noted that they do share some similarities because of the basic requirements needed to get started in serious art collecting. First and foremost, serious art collecting tends to be reserved for people who have the interest as well as the wealth needed to buy the art pieces that general audiences are actually interested in. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that celebrities are often serious art collectors, both because they have the money and because they move in creative circles.
Here are 20 celebrities who are huge art collectors:
1. The hip-hop megastar Sean Combs is an excellent example of a celebrity who got into serious art collecting. In fact, he actually made the headlines when he brought his entire entourage with him into the Gagosian Gallery booth at Art Basel Miami in 2011, where he stated that he was there to learn. Over the years, he has bought a number of expensive pieces such as a $95,000 Tracey Emin neon and $65,000 Ivan Navarro mirrored sculpture, though it is interesting to note that he seems to have an extremely practical purpose for his art collection in mind as home ornamentation.
2. Given that he was named for the famous Italian Renaissance man, it seems appropriate that Leonardo DiCaprio has a personal interest in art, as shown by the fact that he co-hosts LACMA’s glittering Art + Film Gala as well as the fact that he has bought art pieces such as a $700,000 Takashi Murakami unfinished painting at art auctions. Interestingly, DiCarpio has stated that he does not second-guess his own likes and dislikes when it comes to art, which seems like a refreshingly simple and straightforward attitude.
3. Although David Geffen is not as well-known as most of the other names on this list, he is nonetheless a major figure in the entertainment industries, seeing as how he is involved with not just music but also film. Regardless, he is famous for his massive art collection, which has been estimated to be worth as much as $1.1 billion. While it has a fair amount of variation, his art collection is known as one of the best collections of American artists, including but not limited to Jasper Johns, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko.
4. Jay Z is famous for being a hip-hop artist as well as a successful entrepreneur, but it should be noted that he has a strong interest in other forms of art as well. For example, he has one of Andy Warhol’s Rorschach series hanging on the wall above his fireplace, which he actually brought up in one of his songs in 2009. Furthermore, it should be noted that he makes other references in his songs, that he has been known to buy artworks from a wide range of artists, and that he and his wife, Beyonce, have been known to provide support to lesser-known artists looking for their big breaks.
5. Elton John has a strong involvement with art forms other than music, so it should come as no surprise to learn that he has a more than respectable art collection to go along with that interest. In particular, his art collection is known for its photographs, which focus on not just portraits but also on celebrities and fashions. For example, he actually set a record in 1993 by buying Man Ray’s Glass Tears for $193,000, which is now estimated to be worth closer to $2 million. From a purely financial perspective, that is a remarkable appreciation over a not entirely unreasonable span of time.
6. Madonna has an impressive art collection worth more than a $100 million boasting some of the most famous names in modern art. For example, her first purchase was Fernand Leger’s Les Deux Bicyclettes, which cost her almost a million dollars at the time. However, she has since picked up other famous works as well, ranging from a $4.7 million Picasso painting named Buste de Femme a la Frange to more pieces by Fernand Leger. In particular, Madonna is known for her fondness for Frida Kahlo, who was known not just for her self-portraits with the exaggerated unibrows but also for her willingness to push what women could and could not do, which is something that she shares with her admirer.
7. Most people are familiar with Steve Martin as a comedian, but fewer people know that he is an avid art collector, so much so that he describes it as his single greatest hobby. The proof of this can be found in his art collection, which encompasses names such as Francis Bacon, Cindy Sherman, Pablo Picasso, though it should be mentioned that his personal favorite is Eric Fischl, who is an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker all rolled into the same person. Martin’s art collection is so extensive that he has actually chosen to exhibit it at the Bellagio in Las Vegas in 2001.
8. Pharrell Williams loves contemporary art, so much so that he has actually collaborated with contemporary artist Takashi Murakami on a piece called The Simple Things, which is a commentary on consumerism that combined unsubtle metaphors with one of Murakami’s characteristic monsters. Furthermore, he has dabbled in contemporary art on a separate occasion in the form of furniture design, as shown by his tip-toeing and tank-tread chairs at 2009’s Design Miami. Needless to say, the hip-hop artist’s collection of contemporary artworks is similarly impressive.
9. Tom Ford is a fashion designer as well as a film director. However, he is also an art collector who is still buying artworks that catch his interest left and right. For example, he recently bought a number of artworks from artists based in Los Angeles, including abstract painter Mark Bradford and sculptor Aaron Curry. These additions bolster his already impressive collection of artworks, which includes names such as Andy Warhol, Elsworth Kelly, and Sam Taylor Wood.
10. David and Victoria Beckham own an art collection that is alleged to be worth about $40 million. Unlike most of the other art collectors on this list, they are known to have a strict theme for the artworks that they choose to collect, which said theme being nothing more and nothing less than love. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that Victoria bought Tracey Emin’s For You, which comes in the shape of a neon heart, while she was browsing the White Cube Gallery in London as a present for David.
11. Neil Patrick Harris owns four of Kehinde WIley’s paintings, which includes a relatively recent acquisition named Venus Anadyomeme, which currently hangs on the wall of his living room in his Harlem townhouse. Generally speaking, his art collection focuses on contemporary art from up-and-coming artists, though it should be noted that it features some of the more famous names such as Tony Payne, Andrew Sendor and Darina Karpov as well.
12. Oscar winner Sofia Coppola has been known to purchase artworks from a wide range of sources, which in turn, speaks volumes about the size as well as the variety of her art collection. However, she is also known to have her favorites among her art collection, with two examples being the artists Elizabeth Peyton and Larry Sultan. Recently, she bought a photograph by American fashion photographer Bob Richardson, which featured a model with a tear in her eye while on the beach.
13. Given Kanye West’s upbringing, it should come as no surprise to learn that he has a strong interest in not just music but also other forms of art. In fact, before he dropped out of college to focus on his music, he was actually studying the art of painting. Since his success, he has not just collected artworks from contemporary artists but also referenced them on his albums while also collaborating with them on a surprisingly wide range of creative projects.
14. Charles Saatchi is still remembered as one of the co-founders of Saatchi & Saatchi, which was one of the biggest advertising agencies in the world in the 1980s. However, he should also be known as an art collector who started early and has never stopped, so much so that he was actually capable of starting his own art gallery called the Saatchi Gallery in 1985. Although he has since donated the gallery along with much of his art collection, it remains as a way for up-and-coming artists in Britain to get their artworks seen by interested individuals.
15. Unsurprisingly, Lady Gaga has a remarkable interest in contemporary art, as shown by the fact that she owns artworks by Leigh Bowery and Francesco Vezzoli along with other names of note. Furthermore, she likes to combine her appreciation for art with her philanthropic endeavors, as shown by the fact that she supports an artists’ colony out in the Hamptons, which does traditional forms of art as well as more avant-garde material such as body painting and performance art.
16. When Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie got married in 2014, their friends actually got them artworks as wedding gifts, which says a lot about whether they are interested in art or not. As a result, their home in the south of France is filling up with a wide range of contemporary art, including some pieces by an urban artist named Dom Pattinson, who actually lent them a hand with decorating the interior because of his friendship with Pitt.
17. Grant Hill owns one of the biggest and most impressive collections of African American art that can be found in the world. Furthermore, he loves to share his passion with others, which is why he brought his collection with him on a seven-city tour, which generated proceeds that went to a scholarship meant to assist people interested in pursuing art degrees as a prelude to their own artistic careers. Artists in Hill’s collection include but are not limited to Romare Bearden and Elizabeth Catlett
18. Tobey Maguire has been known to buy artworks from time to time. For example, he bought a painting from Kaz Oshiro at Art Basel Miami in 2007. Similarly, he bought a Mark Ryden painting at MoCA’s FRESH silent auction in the same year.
19. As strange as it sounds, Mary-Kate Olsen is a big fan of contemporary art. As a result, she is known to own artworks made by artists ranging from Andy Warhol to Nobuyoshi Araki. Furthermore, she is rumored to have romantically involved with a number of artists in the past, which attests to how much time she spends in the more artistic circles.
20. Swizz Beatz is another rapper with an interest in contemporary artists. To be precise, his interest developed when he caught note of Basquiat, but came to full bloom when his interest lead him to learn more and more about not just that particular artists but also other artists through sheer cultural osmosis. In fact, he has become so interested that these contemporary artists are actually influencing his music, which is something that he shares with other famous musicians.