Like any good artist, Brad Pitt is constantly evolving. Sometimes all it takes is a change of circumstances to knock the first domino down. The current slapstick action movie star High-speed train turned over a new leaf after his split from Angelina Jolie in 2016. The actor got sober, locked himself away with high art friends and channeled his pain through painting and sculpture.
Although the couple’s art collection was presumably split a long time ago, their divorce continues to wind its way through the courts. During this time, Pitt deepened in art: he took painting lessons by British artist Colin Davidson, threw his weight behind the controversial redesign of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, went gallery jump with fellow actress-turned-artist Alia Shawkat, sculpted with Leonardo DiCaprio in his home studio and, of course, posed for an endless parade of selfies at Frieze Los Angeles.
In an interview on Podcast by Marc Marron in 2020, Pitt refused to call himself a “collector” because, he explained, he does not buy art as an investment. Instead, he is interested in “some things that move me and that I like to be around every day, and that could inspire my children”.
Pitt has kept the precise contents of his holdings relatively secret. But we’ve scoured the leading man’s contact details over the past few years to piece together a snapshot of his art and design collection. What surfaces is a range of artists – often based in Los Angeles, sometimes of European descent and almost always male – who explore history, human nature and creativity in their work. Check out an overview of the highlights below.
The actor picked up this nine-foot-wide racetrack painting from David Zwirner’s booth at Art Basel in 2009. After staring at the painting on the booth for a few minutes, he reportedly returned with the royalty of LA collectors – Edythe and the late Eli Broad – in tow to confer. Hours later, Broad said the the wall street journal he pushed the actor. “I told him we had four Rauchs and if he didn’t buy it we probably would,” he said. Pitt eventually pulled the trigger, paying just under a million dollars for the paint.
In 2007, the Lazarides Gallery in London held a special auction of works by Banksy. According to Daily Mail, the couple picked up around £1m (about $2m at the time) worth of works there. But Pitt claims an even rarer connection to the anonymous street artist: The sun reported that he became one of the few collectors to ever convince Banksy to create a commissioned work. The artist reportedly painted a New Orleans-inspired mural in the French estate that Pitt shared with Jolie.
Pitt took a photo of Danny Lyon, an American photographer who has chronicled the civil rights movement, at Paris Photo Los Angeles in 2014. The photo captured a police officer in Clarksdale, Mississippi, giving the finger . Terry Etherton, whose gallery sold the work to Pitt, said Phaidon: “I asked him why this image and he reminded me that they had shot 12 years of slavery in the area where the photo was taken…. He asked his assistant to take the picture at the end of the show. We found him humble, sincere and unpretentious. And, of course, beautiful.
Houseago and Pitt go back a long way. His home was the creative paradise where Pitt hid while escaping the fallout of the split heard around the world. Pitt, who helped Houseago through his own difficult times, said he owns a number of Houseago pieces. Although he also told Marc Maron that some of the LA-based British-born artist’s work might scare his children.
The fight club star is also known for her penchant for high-end design and can often be spotted at Design Miami and Design Miami Basel. During a visit to the Swiss fair in 2009, fast company reported that Pitt picked up three works for over $110,000 by Nacho Carbonell, a rising talent who at the time had just finished design school in the Netherlands. The Carbonell Player design and sculptural objects using recycled and industrial materials like glass bottles and mash to create organic, earthy shapes.
Atelier Van Lieshout
Pitt nabbed three pieces from the avant-garde Atelier van Lieshout during the same visit to Design Miami Basel in 2009. The Dutch design studio, founded in 1995 Joep van Lieshout, seeks to “undermine the myth of individual artistic genius “. fast company indicated that he had purchased the Mini capsule hotela facility that doubles as a six-bed dorm, for $134,000, with plans to set it up on its private beach in Santa Monica.
We know that Pitt once acquired the canvases of the British Prime Minister, but it’s hard to say how many, if any, Churchills still live in his collection. In 2021, page 6 reported that Jolie was selling a painting at Christie’s that Pitt had given her as a gift. The canvas – the only one painted by the ex-prime minister during World War II – brought in $11.6 million, nearly three times its pre-sale estimate.
In an interview in June with QG to discuss the “last quarter” of his career, Pitt spoke poetically of Chicago-born, Los Angeles-based Charles Ray. He had just attended the sculptor’s flagship exhibition at the Pinault Collection in Paris. “The way the light catches it is something amazing,” Pitt said of a Christ made from paper. “It floats, it’s like it’s free of it, it’s so beautiful. See how it floats, and the shadow on the wall?
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay one step ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive breaking news, revealing interviews and incisive reviews that move the conversation forward.