Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Living with Art: Part Deux

Marc Jacobs is a testament to what kind of art collection you can amass in a short amount of time. You would never know it from his front row that he was intimidated by the art world and didn't even start collecting until five years ago. I have a friend who works for the designer and I can atest that not only has the collecting bug bit him hard but he really has become a true patron of the arts.

It began innocently enough, with a little oil painting by Karen Kilimnik which he saw in a Christie's catalog and bought for $31,000. "Within weeks he also acquired three Mike Kelly prints from Skarstedt gallery in New York, rationalizing the purchase because it was his birthday. Soon he was traveling to international art fairs, befriending dealers and artists, and in some instances asking his LVMH bosses for salary advances to cover paintings he couldn't really afford, such as Ed Ruscha's Birds, Pencils (1965), which he spotted at Art Basel."

The November 2007 Art Issue of W magazine takes a moody look inside his apartment in Paris that was designed by Paul Fortune. In the top photo, Jacobs sits in his library with Ed Ruscha's Heaven, 1986, and a Sixties Dominique table. While in the living room, Ed Ruscha's Peach, 1964, John Currin's The Go-See, 1999, hang near a Lalanne sheep sculpture.

Of course it's W magazine so there are the ubiquitous shirtless designer photos, a la Tom Ford and Dolce and Gabanna. Or perhaps, the newly svelte designer just wanted to show off his rock hard abs. Either way, he's sitting in the den on a leather Arne Jacobsen Egg chair next to a credenza on which sits Sean Landers's Mr. Rabbit, 2003.

Damien Hirst's Paracetamol, 2004-05, and Richard Prince's Island Nurse, 2002, dominate the upstairs landing.

One of my favorite contemporary artists is Elizabeth Peyton and Marc Jacobs has been a huge supporter of her work. Among his paintings by her in the sitting room is a portrait of Jacobs. He also commissioned her to paint Sophia Coppola for his fragrance advertising. John Currin's Bra Shop, 1997, is one of several portraits in the master bedroom. John and his wife, Rachel Feinstein, also an artist, have become very good friends with the designer and often sit in the front row of his fashion shows. She also happens to look a lot like the women in his paintings which was why there were introduced.

Above the bed in the downstairs guest room, hangs Richard Prince's Richard and Linda, 2005. Richard Prince also designed the multiple covers for W's Art Issue. You also have to wonder who that is under the covers. His new boyfriend perhaps? Below, Jacobs plays in the courtyard off the garden-level office with his two dogs, Alfred and Daisy, and two Lalanne frog chairs.

"Jacobs doesn't fancy himself a major art collector and is not gunning for some future wing at MoMA. He says he buys what he likes—work that tends toward the figurative, the graphic—and hangs it where he can see it."

In Paris, Jacobs enjoys spending time at home with his art, which is partly what inspired the W photo portfolio. The designer liked the idea of a series that captured his home as a sort of surreal dollhouse, offering a look into "the little compartments of people's lives." When he talks about his existence in Paris, which he used to fantasize about as a teenager, he compares it to a bizarre dream. And whether you like his art or not, I hope you can appreciate his passion for collecting.

Photos by Philip-Lorca diCorcia

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