Madonna has been collecting pricey pieces of art for the past three decades. Her works by Basquiat are fairly legendary – mainly because she doesn’t have them anymore. Madonna dated the famous painter in the early 1980s. They were both on the verge of breaking through to wider fame at the time. During their time together, she acquired a number of Basquiat’s paintings. She was working on her debut album and he was, well, according to Madonna, doing heroin. She told the Howard Stern Show: “He wouldn’t stop doing heroin. He was an amazing man and deeply talented, I loved him. When I broke up with him he made me give [the paintings he gave me] back to him. And then he painted over them black.”
Even without the Basquiats, Madonna’s collection of art is quite impressive. She owns one of the five paintings Frida Kahlo painted while she lived in Detroit. Madonna rather famously refused to lend the Detroit Institute of the Arts her Kahlo for an exhibition. All in all, the Material Girl’s art collection is estimated to be worth a minimum of $100 million. Perhaps as much as $200-300 million in the right art market.
She began buying art in 1987 when she acquired Fernand Leger’s 1944 work Les Deux Bicyclettes for $1 million. That’s a total steal given today’s prices for Leger’s paintings and similar works of art. Madonna once also owned Leger’s Trois Femmes a la Table Rouge, but she sold it for $7.2 million in 2013. She donated the proceeds to her Ray of Light Foundation in support of education projects for girls in South Asia and the Middle East.
Back in 1990, Madonna told Vanity Fair that she had a ton of Tamara de Lempicka paintings. In fact, she said: “I have a Lempicka museum.” Lempicka is a Polish Art Deco painter who is the first female artists to be a star. Her colorful, graphic style and feminine subjects were a natural for Madonna. Lempicka has been a favorite of celebrity collectors since the 1930s.
Madonna also owns a nude photograph by Man Ray of the famous French artists model Kiki de Montparnesse (nee Alice Prin). At one point it hung in her living room in her Los Angeles home.
Madonna owns a female nude painting by Diego Rivera as well as Frida Kahlo’s Self Portrait with Monkey, which was painted in 1940. She also owns Kahlo’s My Birth. In that 1990 interview with Vanity Fair, Madonna said of My Birth: “If somebody doesn’t like this painting, then I know they can’t be my friend.”
Madge also owns Pablo Picasso’s Buste de Femme a la Frange, a 1938 work that she paid nearly $5 million for in 2000.
Madonna’s over $100 million art collection is steeped in classics like Kahlo and Picasso, but is not without some contemporary pieces. It is believed that she owns at least one piece by Damien Hirst. She is also a big fan of Marilyn Minder and used one of her videos, Green Pink Caviar as part of her Sweet and Sticky tour in 2008.