"I have not collected art. Art collected me. I never found paintings. They found me. I have never even owned a work of art. They owned me."
"You just have to have the picture, there's no cure for it. Fact is you don't want to be cured...."
------Edward G. Robinson
It was a rare public sighting of Barbra Streisand and her husband James Brolin at the opening of the Los Angeles Art Show last Wednesday. Streisand is an art collector. The following day brought an incognito Leonardo DiCaprio, without fanfare or photographers, to the Art Show. DiCaprio is also a passionate collector, as is his BFF Tobey Maguire and Maguire's eminent father-in-law, Universal Studios' President Ron Meyer. During the four-day fair at the Convention Center, there were numerous Hollywood collectors with known celluloid (or digitized) smiles lurking amongst the 70,000 collectors, gallerists, artists, and enthusiasts.
Members of the entertainment industry have always collected art. Little Caesar himself, Edward G Robinson, mounted a major collection in the early days of Tinseltown. Greta Garbo, Vincent Price, uber-producers Ray Stark and Sam Spiegel, and legendary writer/director Billy Wilder built esteemed and valuable collections. In 2012, Christie's auctioned $22 million worth of paintings from Elizabeth Taylor's estate: a Pissarro, a Degas and a Van Gogh. Her father, Francis Taylor, had been a Beverly Hills based art dealer, who had procured Vincent Van Gogh's Vue de l'Asile et de la Chapelle de Saint-Remy, for his movie star daughter in 1963.
Kirk Douglas and television tycoon Douglas Cramer are both notable and influential senior contemporary art collectors. Cramer has donated major works to numerous museums.
And while they may have been Easy Riders, they were hard art buyers; the late Dennis Hopper and the living Jack Nicholson were shrewd collectors early on in their careers. Steve Martin is also much admired for his art acumen. A serious collector for 45 years, his 2010 novel, An Object of Beauty, chronicles the art world.
Entertainment magnate and philanthropist, David Geffen, is one of the most important collectors of post-war American art and has a branch building at Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art named for him. In 2006, he sold Jackson Pollock's No.5, 1948 for $140 million. Other savvy Southern California visages collecting art include Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, James Franco, Drew Barrymore, Neil Patrick Harris, Owen Wilson, Jay-Z and Beyonce, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, Oprah Winfrey, Christina Aguilera, Harrison Ford, Elton John, and Orlando Bloom. Hollywood power collectors include Creative Artists Agency founder Michael Ovitz, media entrepreneurs Dean Valentine and Russell Simmons, retired broadcast titan Blake Byrne, producers Michael Lynne, Bob Shaye, Brian Grazer, Maria Bell, and Steve Tisch, former Warner Bros Chairman Terry Semel, current Paramount Pictures Chairman Brad Grey, television mogul Darren Star, manager JoAnne Colonna, entertainment attorneys Jake Bloom and Alan Hergott, agents Bryan Lourd, Ari Emanuel, Bob Gersh, Beth Swofford, Peter Franciosa, Dan Aloni, and Peter Benedek , and directors Sofia Coppola, Ivan Reitman and Steven Spielberg.
Another top show business collector is actor/comedian Cheech Marin, a much-heralded advocate of Mexican- American Art, who presented The Chicano Collection at the Los Angeles Art Show, a limited edition portfolio featuring prints of paintings by prominent Chicano artists.
Here are some of Hollywood's art aficionados pictured at the 2014 Los Angeles Art Show: