Billionaire Basquiat Collector Yusaku Maezawa Went Shopping at Leonardo DiCaprio’s St. Tropez Art Auction

Famous for his record-setting Basquiat purchase, the collector is adding a political dimension to his holdings.

Yusaku Maezawa. Image ©Yusaku Maezawa
Yusaku Maezawa. Image ©Yusaku Maezawa.

Leonardo DiCaprio knows that if you want to sell a lot of art, you need to bring in the big guns.

Among the guests at the actor’s recent star-studded charity auction in Saint-Tropez was Japanese collector Yusaku Maezawa. Best known for his record-setting $110.5 million purchase of a Basquiat at Sotheby’s in May, Maezawa went home from DiCaprio’s sale with a painting by Jenny Holzer titled Page 6 (2016), artnet News has learned.

A spokesperson for Maezawa says that Holzer is one of the collector’s favorite artists. The work is from her series of silk-screened paintings created from declassified government memos. The price was not disclosed, in keeping with the DiCaprio Foundation’s policy.

The work is the latest addition to the online retail billionaire’s rapidly growing collection. (Maezawa has set Basquiat’s auction record twice in as many years.)

Maezawa, who maintains a contemporary art foundation in Tokyo, is also planning to build a museum in nearby Chiba, where he will display some of his collection.

Meanwhile, DiCaprio’s auction raised a cool $30 million for his eponymous environmental foundation. A spokesman told artnet News that “it was an important night for female artists who for the first time figured largely in the auction.” The sale included work by Andrea Bowers, Tracey Emin, Paola Pivi, and Lynda Benglis.

Vanity Fair correspondent Derek Blasberg, seemingly the only journalist with a front-row seat to the festivities, reported that a large work by Urs Fischer sold for more than $2.5 million. (Fischer’s current record at auction is $6.8 million, set in 2011, according to the artnet Price Database.)

Blasberg also reports that a brief bidding war broke out between Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and DiCaprio over a large portrait of the actor by Julian Schnabel featuring the artist’s signature broken plates. DiCaprio reportedly beat out Weinstein for the work with a winning bid of €400,000. It seems only fair—it was his party, after all.


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