With 'Street Life' now open at our flagship gallery on Maddox Street, let's take a closer look at the celebrity collectors whose art collections include some of the street artists on show. From Jay-Z's homage to New York to a glimpse into Angelina Jolie's collecting habits, they reveal the eclectic tastes of some of the world's biggest stars and a very personal approach to collecting.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé, the ultimate celebrity power couple, have a well-documented love for Jean-Michel Basquiat. In 2013, Brooklyn-born Jay-Z purchased the painting Mecca (1982) at Sotheby's for $4.2 million. The work depicts a New York landscape with the word "Empire" scrawled across the top, beneath the artist's signature crown. Eight years later, the hip-hop couple featured in a campaign for Tiffany & Co., pictured beside a turquoise painting by Basquiat entitled Equals Pi (1982) that is very close in colour to the New York's jeweller's signature shade of blue and hadn't been seen in public for decades.
Angelina Jolie reportedly spent £200,000 on the couple's first work by Banksy after her and Brad were spotted together at the artist's "Barely Legal" exhibition in Los Angeles in 2006. A year later, Pitt and Jolie decided to expand their Banksy collection, spending over £1 million on works by the British street artist at an auction in Soho, London. With the couple's 2016 divorce, there has been much speculation regarding their art collection, but no definitive answers as to whose home the Banksy works are hanging in today.
The fourth highest-paid DJ in the world, Steve Aoki has an enviable record collection, but he also has another hobby that he is equally passionate about: he is an avid collector of art toys. His gateway into the world of collecting art, paintings held little interest for Aoki when he first started collecting, while art figures were both accessible and relatable to him and his friends. A work of art in itself, Aoki's house is filled with original artworks by the likes of Banksy, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, RETNA and OSGEMEOS, alongside an incredible collection of art toys by his favourite artist, KAWS. Displayed in a room devoted to the New York artist's three-dimensional sculptures, affectionally known as The Kaws Room, it's a veritable museum of collector's pieces, including a series of Four Foot Companions, one of KAWS' most recognisable characters.
In 2019, Kylie Jenner, the youngest sister of the Kardashian-Jenner clan, opened the doors to her California mansion for Architectural Digest, revealing a dazzling mansion decorated with contemporary art, including a Jean-Michel Basquiat presiding over the living room. Since then, she has documented her growing collection of contemporary art on Instagram, including a complete portfolio edition of Keith Haring in her home office and a recent purchase of a KAWS chair for her daughter, Stormi, by partner Travis Scott.
Kim Namjoon of the Korean pop group BTS, better known by his stage name RM, has become a significant influencer in the art world. Originally becoming interested in contemporary art because he needed something to fill the hours between performances and rehearsals, today he is an avid collector and promoter of art, with a personal collection that includes works by the French street artist Invader. RM has always been very open about his collecting aims and how he uses art as an investment to secure his financial future.
From Banksy to Basquiat — extraordinary contemporary and modern artworks by the world's most respected blue-chip, established and emerging artists.