Art Collector Whoopi Goldberg Poses as ‘Mona Lisa’ for Bizarre Magazine Profile

One of her favorites is 'Monkey Orchestra,' a set of 18th century figurines.

Timothy White, portrait of Whoopi Goldberg. Photo: Timothy White.
Timothy White, portrait of Whoopi Goldberg. Photo: Timothy White.

Timothy White, portrait of Whoopi Goldberg.
Photo: Timothy White.

Actress, comedian, and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg has never been shy about sharing her opinions, and her thoughts on art are no exception. In an interview with myArt Magazine, a publication by Dorotheum auction house, Goldberg revealed her life-long interest in art.

“My mother loved art, and the fact that we didn’t have a lot of money didn’t stop us from visiting museums and appreciating art,” said Goldberg of her childhood in New York.

When it comes to collecting, Goldberg has a strict policy. “No advisers!” she said. “No one knows what I like, and I don’t need someone to tell me what I ought to like. I know it when I see it.”

Goldberg is also no stranger to updating her collection, having sold off some 70 works in 2011 at Dallas’s Heritage Auctions in anticipation of “the next chapter of my constantly-changing taste.”

Whoopi Goldberg bought a set of Johann Joachim Kendler's Monkey Orchestra, by Meissner Porzellan, from Dorotheum. Photo: courtesy Meissen Couture.

Whoopi Goldberg bought a set of Johann Joachim Kendler’s Monkey Orchestra, by Meissner Porzellan, from Dorotheum.
Photo: courtesy Meissen Couture.

The actress appears on the magazine’s cover, styled as Leonardo da Vinci‘s Mona Lisa by celebrity photographer Timothy White, a stunning look that puts Beyoncé’s Frida Kahlo Halloween costume and Katy Perry’s Piet Mondrian-themed music video to shame.

Perhaps due to her upbringing, Goldberg reportedly eschews the high-end auction and gallery scene frequented by other celebrity collectors like Madonna and Leonardo Dicaprio.

Rather than big ticket blue chip works, the actress is more interested in quirky works that befit her larger-than-life personality. One favorite is Johann Joachim Kendler’s Monkey Orchestra, a set of 18th century figurines by Meissner Porzellan poking fun at courtly life that she purchased at Dorotheum in 2010.

An eclectic collector, Goldberg is interested in everything from classic cars and 1930s furniture to illustrations and paintings. “I mix high-culture artifacts—figurines, ceramics, crystal—with pop art at the dinner table for example,” she noted.

“I like things that make me smile… and make me happy!”


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