Part II: Leonardo DiCaprio
Are we really surprised that Leonardo DiCaprio has developed into one of the world’s most prolific art collectors? He was, after all, named for one of the most famous artists in the world. According to DiCaprio, the actor’s pregnant mother was standing in front of a Da Vinci painting at the Uffizi when he began kicking furiously, and taking this gesture as a sign, she decided to name him Leonardo. Art seems to have been a childhood staple for the actor; in an article for Rolling Stone, he was asked to describe one of his earliest memories, and DiCaprio recalled a painting that hung above his crib: Hieronymous Bosch’s infamous “Garden of Earthly Delights,” which depicts Eden being squandered away by man. “You literally see Adam and Eve being given paradise,” DiCaprio says. “Then you see in the middle [of the triptych] this overpopulation and excess … then the last panel is just a burnt-down apocalypse. That was my favorite painting.” The natural-history museum was also a staple of DiCaprio’s childhood, and he has since accumulated an important collection of fossils in his home, mostly predatory dinosaurs.
Over the years, DiCaprio has found ways to marry his passion for art with his crusade to save the world from climate change. According to ArtNews, in 2013 he orchestrated a charity auction at Christie’s, entitled “The 11th Hour Sale,” to benefit environmental causes. His own Andreas Gursky satellite image of Earth, Ocean V, was auctioned. In total, the auction raised $38 million in one night and set new sales records for 13 artists, with all proceeds benefiting global conservation projects.
Who is he collecting?
- Estimated value of art collection: $10 million
- In 2017, DiCaprio voluntarily handed over to US authorities a $3.2 million Pablo Picasso painting and a $9 million Jean-Michel Basquiat collage
- According to reports, the works were gifted to DiCaprio, but now appear to be part of an embezzlement scandal connected to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund (also known as 1MDB), founded by the country’s prime minister, Najib Razak