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Leonardo DiCaprio joins ranks of world's top art collectors

Leonardo DiCaprio joins ranks of world's top art collectors
Leonardo DiCaprio collects contemporary art as well as comics, rare books and fossils. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

Leonardo DiCaprio has joined the elite ranks of the world's top art collectors, according to a 2015 list compiled by ARTnews magazine that was published Tuesday.

It marks the first time that the Oscar-nominated star has been included in the New York publication's annual 200 list, which also includes such perennial heavy hitters as Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, hedge fund magnate Steve A. Cohen and billionaire Eli Broad.

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DiCaprio collects contemporary art as well as comics, rare books and fossils. "One of his first major purchases was a Basquiat drawing," said the magazine, and over the years he has acquired works by Picasso, Andreas Gursky, Takashi Murakami, Ed Ruscha, Elizabeth Peyton, Sarah Lucas and others.

The actor hasn't been known to talk publicly about his private collection, but a number of art blogs have kept track of his purchases, which reportedly include a recently acquired 2015 sci-fi painting, "Nachlass," by Brooklyn-based artist Jean-Pierre Roy.

DiCaprio has also been a regular celebrity presence at Art Basel in Switzerland and Miami, where his comings and goings have been captured by the paparazzi.

In Los Angeles, where he was born, DiCaprio has been active with the L.A. County Museum of Art, where he has co-chaired the annual Art + Film Gala with museum trustee Eva Chow. He helped to bring the recent exhibition "Haunted Screens," which explored German expressionism, to the museum.

"The Wolf of Wall Street" actor has also agreed to donate a large-scale installation by artist John Gerrard to LACMA. "Solar Reserve (Tonopah, Nevada)" is a digital simulation of a solar thermal power tower that offers dynamic, changing views of the Nevada site.

In 2013, DiCaprio's foundation teamed up with Christie's to organize an environmental charity art auction that brought in $38.8 million.

The ARTnews 200 list includes such other first-timers as George Roberts, a founding partner of the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and his wife, Linnea Conrad Roberts, a partner at Goldman Sachs; Vancouver real-estate magnate Bob Rennie; and the Rubell family of Miami, famous for its collection of contemporary art.

Another first-timer is entertainment executive Wang Zhongjun, chairman and co-founder of Huayi Brothers Media Group, one of China's largest movie companies. Last year, Wang purchased a Van Gogh painting, "Still Life, Vase With Daisies and Poppies," for $61.8 million at a Sotheby's auction.

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT

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