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Star power: 5 celebrity art collectors to envy

Alongside yacht racing, flying one’s own private jet, and investing in vintage cars, art collecting probably ranks among some of the most expensive hobbies one can have.

A blue-chip artwork — which is essentially one that’s expected to increase in value regardless of the economic landscape — by the likes of Monet, Picasso and Rembrandt will easily set one back by the millions. A prominent example is Paul Gauguin’s Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) (1892) painting, which became one of the world’s most expensive single works of art, after Qatar bought it from a Swiss collector for an astounding US$300 million (S$423.7 million). Even creations by mid-career artists may cost a tidy five-figure sum.

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Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) (Photo: The New York Times)

It’s no surprise then, that most serious art collectors are usually billionaires or celebrities (who have earned enough to be in the former category, anyway). For these well-heeled folks, it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for their homes to be decked out in Andy Warhol and Frida Kahlo paintings galore.

Here are 5 celebrities with some seriously incredible art collections. We probably can’t afford any of the artworks they own, but who says we can’t dream?

(Main photo credit: The Selby; Featured photo credit: Artnet)

1
Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow’s interest in art goes way back: Before going into acting, she studied art history at the University of California in Santa Barbara. She never finished her degree, though, and dropped out after a year to pursue her dreams of breaking into Tinseltown. Today, the actress indulges her love for art by collecting works by the likes of Darren Almond, Yayoi Kusama and Ann Carrington. In fact, a needlepoint piece by the latter hangs in the foyer of her Hampton home.

(Photo credit: Artspace)

2
Madonna

The Queen of Pop possesses an enviable art collection that’s believed to be worth over US$100 million (S$141 million). This includes works by Pablo Picasso, Fernand Legér, Diego Rivera, and one of five Frida Kahlo paintings that were created when the artist spent a year in Detroit. Madonna’s flirtation with art doesn’t end there — she dated graffiti icon Jean-Michel Basquiat in the early ’80s and, during that time, was given a few of his paintings. After their acrimonious breakup, he took back those works and destroyed them.

(Photo credit: Artnet)

3
Jay Z

The music mogul has been spotted at art fairs such as Art Basel Miami Beach, and in 2014, even dressed up as Jean-Michel Basquiat for Halloween. (His wife Beyoncè followed suit, and turned up as Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.) Jay Z’s art collection features works by Damien Hirst, David Hammons, Richard Prince, Andy Warhol and Hebru Brantley. He forked out US$20,000 (S$28,207) for the latter’s Everyone’s Scared painting at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2012.

(Photo credit: Hebru Brantley)

4
Ellen Degeneres and Portia de Rossi

Both avid art collectors, Ellen Degeneres’ and Portia de Rossi’s prized artworks can be found throughout their Beverly Hills home. The living room is decorated with creations by sculptor Catherine Willis, painter Mark Grotjahn and modern artist Ed Ruscha, while a massive paper art piece by Andy Warhol hangs on a wall in the dining room. Degeneres is also fond of antiques, African art and Latin American art.

(Photo credit: Architectural Digest)

5
Pharrell Williams

Whimsical works by the likes of contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, graffiti artist Keith Haring, and designers Kidrobot and KAWS, dominate Pharrell Williams’ eclectic collection. His former Miami penthouse home was essentially a museum in itself, with many of these colourful works exhibited in its various rooms. Its walls were also adorned with huge KAWS paintings of Family Guy characters (see main image).

(Photo credit: The Selby)

Sara Yap
Deputy Director, Digital Operations (Asia)
Sara Yap is the Deputy Director of Digital Operations at BurdaLuxury, and a contributing writer to Lifestyle Asia’s dining and jewellery beats. When she’s not on the lookout for exciting new restaurants or bejewelled trinkets, she’s probably buried in a riveting read, or reminiscing the good ol’ days with her favourite playlist of ’90s boyband hits.