Celebrities With a Significant Art Collection

JAY-Z and Beyoncé in black tie attire posing in front of a turquoise Basquiat painting.Image © Tiffany & Co. / JAY-Z and Beyoncé for Tiffany & Co. © Mason Poole 2021
Louis Denizet

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Celebrities have long been known for their extravagant lifestyles and impressive collections of passion assets, from luxury cars and designer clothes to lavish homes and exotic vacations. However, there is one particular asset that has become increasingly popular among the A-listers in recent years - art. Many celebrities have developed a passion for collecting artwork, and have invested significant amounts of money into building impressive art collections. But why do they do it? In this article, we'll take a closer look at some of the most notable celebrities with significant art collections and some of the artists they have in common.

For many celebrities, collecting art is not just a hobby or a way to flaunt their wealth, but a genuine passion. Art has historically been a relatively stable asset class, with many artworks increasing in value over time. Like most art collectors however, celebrities are not drawn to art merely for its potentially lucrative returns. For many celebrities, an art collection speaks to their own creative disposition and reveals parts of their identity.

Photograph of David Bowie demonstrating a mime style sitting pose.Image © David Bowie / Sukits Mime Sit © Masayoshi Sukita 1973

David Bowie's Art Collection

After his death, legendary signer-songwriter and actor David Bowie's colossal art collection was sold at Sotheby's in November 2016. His collection was sold in three parts, with over 350 available lots which sold for an overall total of £32.9million. Notable pieces in Bowie's collection reflected his taste in Surrealism, Post-War, and Contemporary Art, and included everything from sculptures to furniture.

“I feel the very moment of his brush or crayon touching the canvas. There is a burning immediacy to his ever evaporating decisions that fires the imagination of ten or fifteen years on, as freshly molten as the day they were poured onto the canvas.”
David Bowie speaking of Jean-Michel Basquiat
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Air Power. A Neo-Expressionist style portrait including a mask-like head figure, an axe, and standing figure.Image © Sotheby’s / Jean-Michel Basquiat © Air Power 1984

Among Bowie's eclectic art collection were works by Marcel Duchamp, Henry Moore, Frank Aeurbach, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Bowie purchased Basquiat's Air Power one year after playing Andy Warhol in the 1996 film Basquiat by Julie Schnabel. The dynamic painting soared high above its high presale estimate of £3.5million, and sold for £7,093,000.

Collecting across a breadth of genres, artists and time periods, Bowie's collection extended to Contemporary artists like Damien Hirst. Enthused by the childlike wonder instilled in Hirst's Spin paintings, Bowie purchased two of these works in 1995. Appearing at the Sotheby's sale, Beautiful, Hallo, Space-Boy Painting, is a collaborative Spin work made by both Hirst and Bowie. Thanks to the prowess of this collaboration, the painting achieved £785,000 - far exceeding the high estimate of £350,000.

In addition to the multiples works by Basquiat and Hirst, Bowie's collection also included Duchamp's A Bruit Secret, Patrick Caulfield's Foyer, and Peter Lanyon's Witness. Bowie's wide-ranging tastes led him to acquire an extensive archive of important works by celebrated as well as less widely-known artists, creating a collection of unparalleled diversity.

Beyoncé & JAY-Z Art Collection

Beyoncé and JAY-Z's notoriety is indisputable. The power couple have a famed passion for art, filming their 2018 music video for APESHIT inside the Louvre, with iconic artworks like Da Vinci's Mona Lisa as their backdrop. The pair's art collection is believed to be worth tens of millions of dollars. Their collection includes works that have influenced and shaped Contemporary Art, and their support for emerging artists and marginalised voices is equally valuable in the art world.

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Mecca. A Neo-Expressionist painting depicting the artist’s version of The Empire State Building. One building that is orange, the others sketched in white against a black background. The text “empire” reads in the top centre of the painting with an outline of a crown above it.Image © Hypebeast / Mecca © Jean-Michele Basquiat 1982

Some of the works in Beyoncé and JAY-Z's collection have sold at auction and yielded significant returns, such as Basquiat's Mecca, which they purchased for $4.5million in 2013 and is now estimated to be worth over $20million.

Amongst their vast collection are works by other household names like Andy Warhol, Richard Prince, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, George Condo, Laurie Simmons, David Hammons, and Ed Ruscha. Potentially the most famous couple in the world, it comes as no surprise that Queen Bey and JAY-Z should have such a rich and diverse art collection.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio and artist Walton Ford sitting in the artist's studio, with a painting behind them.Image © Artnet / Leonardo DiCaprio and Walton Ford © earthstrongtt.org 2015

Leonardo DiCaprio's Art Collection

Apart from being an art enthusiast, actor Leonardo DiCaprio has also leveraged his love for art to contribute to his charitable endeavours. He orchestrated The 11th Hour Sale in 2013, a Christie's charity auction aimed at supporting environmental causes he cares deeply about. During the auction, DiCaprio bought a painting by his friend Walton Ford for $250,000.

Additionally, at the Haiti Rising Gala charity auction held by Sean Penn in Beverly Hills, DiCaprio procured a work by Ed Ruscha for $125,000. He has also purchased works by Warhol, Picasso, Takashi Murakami, Oscar Murillo, Ruscha, and Mark Ryden.

Kanye West's Graduation album cover, depicting a bear in streetwear being launched into a red and purple sky.Image © Discogs / Kanye West's Graduation Album Cover © Takashi Murakami 2007

Kanye West's Art Collection

Renowned rapper, fashion designer, and controversial entrepreneur Kanye West has built an impressive art collection over the years. On his journey to become a college dropout, West studied art - and his interest in art has extended to his album cover art designed by Murakami.

Lenny Kravitz standing next to a Jean-Michele Basquiat painting in his home.Image © British Vogue / Lenny Kravitz with his Basquiat © François Halard 2019

Lenny Kravitz's Art Collection

Legendary rockstar Lenny Kravitz has shown a particular interest in contemporary art, often favouring bold and visually striking pieces. His collection reportedly includes works by renowned artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Banksy, Hirst, and Warhol. These artists are known for their groundbreaking contributions to contemporary art and their ability to challenge conventional norms-just like the rockstar’s music.

Kravitz's Paris townhouse has become almost as famed as the star himself, kitted out with museum-grade pieces in every room of the luxe property. His ground-floor reception room features Warhol's Muhammad Ali series, and a colossal Basquiat painting takes centre stage in the entrance hall. Throughout his career, Kravitz has built a collection of art and pop culture artefacts which speak to his influences and ongoing passions.

Gustav Klimt’s Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II. An oil painting of a woman wearing shades of blue and a hat. She is in a room decorated with flowers.Image © NBC News / Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II © Gustav Klimt 1912

Oprah Winfrey's Art Collection

Talk show host and renowned philanthropist Oprah Winfrey has a particularly impressive art collection. Works by the likes of Gustav Klimt, Richard Edward Miller, and Hovsep Pushman are included in her collection of decorative art, furniture, fine art, and other passion assets. She had a lot of over 500 items that were sold at auction making for a nice return for the media mogul billionaire. In 2016, she was said to have done the biggest private art deal after selling Klimt's Portrait Of Adele Bloch-Bauer II for $150 million.

Alicia Keys and Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean photographed in their home in Englewood, New JerseyImage © Artnews / Alicia Keys and Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean photographed in their home in Englewood, New Jersey © Dana Scruggs

Alicia Keys & Swizz Beatz's Art Collection

The musical couple have cultivated a remarkable art collection featuring renowned artists such as Warhol, Salvador Dali, Kehinde Wiley, Basquiat, Swoon, Enie Barnes, KAWS, Murakami, and Cecily Brown. The pair are avidly involved in the art world and focus their collection mostly on African-American artists like record-setting Kerry James Marshall, and they have the largest private collection of Gordon Parks photographs. While it’s definitely a priceless collection in cultural value, it’s worth tens if not hundreds of millions.

Sir Elton John performing in Norway, seated at a piano with a microphone.Image: Ernst Vikne, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Initially, I had 2,500sq ft and then I bought the apartment next door to house the growing photography collection.”
Sir Elton John

Sir Elton John's Art Collection

Sir Elton John is a legendary British musician, singer, and songwriter who has made an indelible mark on the music industry. In addition to his musical achievements, John is also known for his extensive art collection, which is regarded as one of the most significant private collections in the world.

Alongside his impressive collection of works by the likes of Haring, Phillip Taaffe, Warhol, and Hirst, John is also rumoured to have one of the largest private collections of photography. With over 4,000 photographs in his portfolio, John had to purchase an entire apartment to house the colossal collection. So prolific is John's collection that he has loaned photographs to Tate, and has recently had an entire gallery named after him at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Frida Kahlo’s Self Portrait With Monkey. A painting of Frida Kahlo wearing a red ribbon in her hair that comes down to wrap around her neck, and the neck of the monkey beside her.Image © Frida Kahlo / Self Portrait With Monkey © Frida Kahlo 1940

Madonna's Art Collection

In 2015, Madonna’s art collection was estimated at a value of $100 million. Her collection features highly coveted works including Frida Kahlo’s Self Portrait With Monkey and Pablo Picasso’s Buste De Femme à La Frange. Sources assume the material girl’s portfolio has at least one Hirst painting and considering her personal relationship with Haring, it is speculated she may have a couple of his works stashed away in secret.

Lady Gaga's cover art for her 2013 album ARTPOP, designed by Jeff Koons. A sculpture of Gaga appears at the centre of the cover, with a shiny blue ball covering her crotch. Gaga's name is written in bright pink behind the sculpture, spliced with fragments of famous paintings. The title ‘ARTPOP’ is written on top of the blue ball at the bottom of the cover.ARTPOP © Lady Gaga and Jeff Koons 2013

Lady Gaga's Art Collection

Known for her unique style and groundbreaking performances, the iconic pop star’s art collection welcomes an avant-garde style as seen in works by Leigh Bowery and Francesco Vezzoli- artists who mirror her extravagant costumes, theatrical live performances, and boundary-pushing concepts in their art.

Gaga also built a personal relationship with contemporary artist Jeff Koons following her 2013 album ARTPOP, with the cover art designed by Koons.

Brad Pitt's Art Collection

Brad Pitt is not only a highly acclaimed actor but also an avid art collector. He has shown a particular interest in artists such as Banksy, whose thought-provoking street art resonates with Pitt's passion for social and political issues. His collection features pieces by Richard Serra and Marcel Drama, and a Neo Rauch painting sold for $1 million at Art Basel in 2009.

More than this, Pitt also made his own debut as a sculptor back in 2022. Alongside British artist Thomas Houseago and a ceramic series by Austrial musician Nick Cave, the Hollywood A-lister presented a series of sculptures that he called a ”radical inventory of self”. Pitt showed 9 works at the exhibition in Finland, revealing how his personal passion for art collecting is informing his own creative impulses.

Portrait photograph of American filmmaker and actress Sofia Coppola, at the Cannes Film Festival, 2013.Image: Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sofia Coppola's Art Collection

American filmmaker and actress Sofia Coppola's art collection reflects her discerning taste and appreciation for contemporary art. Her collection features art that explores themes of identity, femininity, and popular culture, aligning with her own artistic sensibilities as a filmmaker. She is actively engaged with the art world by attending exhibitions, collaborating with artists, and even hosting art events in her home that display work from artists like Risaku Suzuki, Ed Ruscha, Elizabeth Peyton and Larry Sultan.

Takashi Murkami’s Flower Matango (b). A multicoloured fibreglass sculpture of flowers with smiling faces.Image © The Broad / Flower Matango (b) Takashi Murakami 2006

Pharrell Williams' Art Collection

Pharrell Williams, beside being a renowned musician, producer, and fashion icon, is also an avid art collector. His art collection is known for its diverse range and includes works by both established and emerging artists. In addition to possessing original and extraordinarily valuable artworks by pop artists such as Keith Haring and KAWS, Williams also possesses a rare and highly sought-after fibreglass flower sculpture by Takashi Murakami.

 Self-Portrait, 1986 by Andy Warhol - MyArtBroker Self-Portrait © Andy Warhol 1986

Tom Ford's Art Collection

American fashion designer and filmmaker Tom Ford has consistently showcased his impeccable aesthetic sense and profound admiration for the visual arts. He frequently emphasises the significant role that art plays in his life and how it profoundly influences his design sensibilities. His taste is evident in the inclusion of renowned artists such as Mark Bradford, Ellsworth Kelly, Sam Taylor Wood, and Andy Warhol (though he sold the latter for a record price at Sotheby's in 2010) within his art collection. These remarkable artists contribute to Ford's creative vision and exemplify the refined taste that has enabled him to amass luxury brands.

David & Victoria Beckham's Art Collection

David and Victoria Beckham have developed careers since their rise to fame as a footballer and Spice Girls member, respectively. The infamous power couple has been known to collect works by notable names such as Hirst, Tracey Emin, Dinos Chapman, and Banksy. Additionally, they have commissioned custom artworks for their homes, reflecting their personal tastes and preferences.

Robbie Williams' Art Collection

Robie Williams, the former Take That member, has a notable art collection that reflects his eclectic taste and appreciation for various artistic styles. He has a particular fondness for Urban & Street Art, with notable works including works by Banksy, Invader, and Shepard Fairey.

Williams sold three of his Banksy works (worth over $13million) in 2022 at Sotheby's New York, including Kissing Coppers, Girl With Balloon, and Vandalised Oils (Choppers).

Invest in Art Like a Celebrity

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Learn more about how you can build a celebrity-grade art collection here.