Leonardo DiCaprio Talks Saving the Environment with Art, Collecting Basquiat, and Being Named After da Vinci

He has an extensive background in the arts and is putting it to good use.

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Complex Original

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After news broke last week that Leonardo di Caprio would be holding a large auction with Christie's to raise money for environmental projects, many of us were wondering exactly how he'd pull it off. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, di Caprio revealed that he's reached out to many of the artists and collectors whose work is in the auction himself, curating the selection, as well. He plans to raise about $15 million from the donation of these works, which is both an impressive and ambitious goal that hopefully inspires more work at the intersection of arts and environmental causes. 

In addition to asking di Caprio about the auction, WSJ learned that his name was indeed inspired by the artist, Leonardo da Vinci, after his father and pregnant mother visited the Uffizi Gallery in Florence; he started kicking in front of a da Vinci painting. His father was friends with underground Los Angeles illustrators in the '70s and '80s, and he grew up going to natural history museums. He also says that, "One of my first purchases was a Jean-Michel Basquiat drawing," and adds that in addition to Ed Ruscha, Todd Schorr and Mark Ryden, "I've continued to be a huge admirer of Basquiat. Now you see his work in museums everywhere." Lastly, his favorite museum is the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and we are hardly surprised given his vast knowledge of and refined taste in art and design.

The auction, titled The 11th Hour, is scheduled for May 8 and will feature works by Mark Grotjahn, Carol Bove, John Currin, Elizabeth Peyton, and others. Two days later, the film he stars in, The Great Gatsby, will be in theaters everywhere.

[via WSJ]

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