Celebrity Art Investors - A New Kind of Patronage

Celebrities and famous people that buy and collect art. From Eric Clapton to Leonardo DiCaprio, celebrities decide to spend millions of dollars on collecting art. What are they collecting? Read more...

Celebrities from Eric Clapton to Steve Martin, David Bowie to Brangelina, Leonardo DiCaprio are all investing in and collecting art!

Celebrity and famous art collectors

Over the centuries, artists have relied on patrons — wealthy people with good taste — to support their lives and art. Without patronage of the arts, the world may never have heard of the likes of Michelangelo or William Shakespeare. Yes — it's been that important! But then, art became a commodity.

Paintings and fine sculptures were once displayed in places for all to see. For example, the art was on the ceiling of a cathedral, perhaps, or in the midst of an ancient plaza. At some point, someone said, "Oh, no, no. That can't be left there. I'll be needing that for display in my study."

Art is so precious because it is so rare. In fact, with the exception of Warholian methods of mass production, no two pieces of art — even by the same hand — can ever be made exactly alike. As art became a privatized collection, it has only increased in value exponentially. Investing in art has become increasingly fashionable, particularly over the last decade. Art is a luxury asset, and a tangible one at that. Perhaps we can even infer that considering the recent downturn that intangible assets such as stocks and bonds have taken, it only makes sense that investors would be seeking an object they can actually hold onto.

Financiers, celebrities, and royalty are becoming more and more ubiquitous in the salesrooms of the auction houses in London and New York. But the difference between this new kind of investment and the patronage of days gone by is that the art these high-profile people are collecting are pricy pieces from already-made names. Here's a brief list of celebrities and the artists whose works they have purchased, just to illustrate this point:

  • Steve Martin: Picasso, Georgia O'Keefe, Roy Lichtenstein
  • Steven Spielberg: Norman Rockwell
  • Elton John: Damien Hirst, Picasso, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Matisse
  • Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: Banksy
  • Oprah Winfrey: Faith Ringgold
  • Madonna: Frida Kahlo, Damien Hirst, Picasso
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber: Pre-Raphaelites
  • Elizabeth Taylor: Van Gogh
  • Cheech Marin: Patssi Valdez
  • Gianni Versace: Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat
  • David Bowie: Balthus, Rubens, Tintoretto

Leonardo DiCaprio has decided to invest his millions into the art industry, he has been spotted at a various amount of Galleries, and Art auction houses. Leonardo was spotted viewing Andy Warhol’s ‘Flowers’ at the Eykyn Maclean gallery and later attended the Contemporary Art Auction at Christie’s Auction House.

This is just a very small sample, but the point is that the works celebrities have purchased are iconic. And the fact that a celebrity has purchased these famous pieces increases the value of not only the art, but the artist as well. Values on these artists — Picasso and Hirst seem particularly popular — have really skyrocketed in the years following this trend.

But of all the celebrity purchases, none has been more newsworthy than Eric Clapton's investment which recently made headlines. Clapton was worth around $200 million before he unloaded several paintings from his personal art collection at an auction. He walked away $30 million richer. Most notably, a piece by German painter Gerhard Richter sold for more than twice the listed price -- the highest sum ever paid for a piece by a living artist!

Interestingly, this may not have been the result of sheer luck or fortunate circumstance on Clapton's part. The great guitar player studied at the Kingston College of Art in the early 1960s. Until recently, his investments were something of a side hobby when he had extra cash. For Clapton, his background knowledge earned him a 965% return on investment in just 10 years. Who says studying liberal arts doesn't pay off?


Check out some more celebrity art lovers here. What do you think? Is modern-day patronage of the arts a boon or a bane to professional artists?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

Know any other celebrities, famous art collectors and investors? Have more to add to the list? Please add them to the comments below.


Professional Artist Andy Russell - Artist Spotlight

Dreamscape painter Andy Russell loves Matisse acrylics!


Artist Andy Russell is widely recognized as a master in acrylic painting. He embarked on his artistic journey over 35 years ago, when he began having recurring dreams of vibrant and ethereal landscapes, which he then started translating into acrylic paintings of immense detail and glowing tones. He describes his painting style as "extended realism" — peaceful, utopian dreamscapes with impossible foliage and amazing architecture. Russell’s unique style is accomplished through multiple glazes and layers of acrylic paint, and he finds the Matisse line to be perfectly suited to his painting technique!


Watch the video below to hear about Andy's background, inspiration and technique in his own words, and get a glimpse into his perfect worlds!

Andy Russell on Matisse Acrylic Paints...

"Matisse Acrylic Paints have proven to be a pleasure to work with in so many ways. They are of the highest quality, richly pigmented and creamy smooth and perfect for the professional artist.

"I use Matisse Structure Acrylics for a thick textured, bold impasto look and Matisse Flow Acrylics for the smooth, highly detailed results. They are also excellent for covering large areas.

"I love colors and they come in a full range, which makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. I almost think of them as flavors. I really like their unique colors such a Cadmium Orange Deep, Australian Red Violet and Australian Blue Gum, Australian Salmon Gum and Australian Sienna. After years of painting in acrylics, it is exciting and refreshing to use these new colors. Discovering them was like getting a 'booster shot' of creativity for my work.

"Matisse has everything I need from mixing mediums to varnishes, from Background Colors to Mix-In Dry Mediums. I have found that using Matisse Background Colors are great for covering large areas. I use a lot of Phthalo Blue in my skies, which is very transparent and requires at least six coats for my purposes. I have discovered I can use one coat of Midnight Blue Background Color and only two coats of Phthalo over that and get the same results. This not only saves money but also leaves me more time for the more creative parts of the work.

"I plan on trying almost everything they offer as I go and can hardly wait to experiment in opening new avenues for creativity.

"I have realized that mixing their Magenta Light and Cadmium Yellow Medium with varying amounts of Titanium White gives me a glowing, brilliant color for sunset and sunrise skies.

"Spreader Medium is perfect for the glazing technique. It gives a smooth, even coat of transparent color for brilliant results.

"I am completely sold on Matisse Acrylic Paints. I highly encourage every artist, professional or pleasure painter, to experience these paints for themselves."

Andy Russell

Learn more about painter Andy Russell and Matisse Acrylics, and visit his official website at www.andyrussell.com.

What do you think of Andy's beautifully surreal paintings?  What have your experiences with Matisse Acrylic Paints been? Tell us about it in the comments below!


Jerry's Joins the Cow Parade for Charity

Jerry's sponsors and purchases a painted cow to benefit the NC Children's Hospital!

This past fall and winter, Raleigh, NC played host to the internationally famous Cow Parade, a community-driven art event designed to benefit local charities or organizations. As Raleigh is the hometown of Jerry's Artarama, of course we were excited to participate!

Cow Parade consists of, well, cows, and lots of them! Artists are provided with a fiberglass "blank" cow, which they can decorate however they choose — many artists choose to use aspects of the community or state as their theme. After a "parade" in which the cows are displayed at various locations for a couple months, they are taken down, spruced up, and put up for public auction.

Proceeds from Raleigh's 2012 Cow Parade go to benefit the North Carolina Children's Hospital, based in Chapel Hill, NC. The Children's Hospital works with pediatricians and hospitals across the state to provide healthcare for sick or injured children. In addition, the NC Children's Hospital focuses not only on the child, but on the entire family, providing care and support for all. With doctors expert in all pediatric and pediatric surgical subspecialties, the NC Children's Hospital diagnoses and treats more than 70,000 children from across the state of North Carolina each year. When it comes to worthy beneficiaries, it doesn't get any better than them!

Is it any wonder we were chomping at the bit to participate in this fun and charitable event? Jerry's Artarama of Raleigh sponsored a cow designed by professional artist Micah Mullen, who we've been thrilled to work with in producing some educational art DVDs and whose artwork we greatly admire! The cow's name is Giovanni, and his design reflects the beauty of North Carolina's landscape. One side shows the calm reflection of North Carolina's beaches and coastal region, and the other the majesty of the NC mountains. And of course, Giovanni is painted completely in Micah's unique impressionistic style, using acrylic paints from right here at Jerry's!

Isn't he awesome? When time for the auction rolled around at the beginning of February, we couldn't bear to part with our Giovanni — so we bought him! Giovanni is now ensconced in his new "pasture" at the Jerry's Artarama Raleigh retail store.

So if you're in the area, come on by and say hi! Or perhaps you've had a Cow Parade in your home town too? Let us know how it went and tell us about it in the comments below!

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