Leonardo DiCaprio has a new art investment. The actor, planet warrior, and art collector is investing in the art app Magnus, launched by New York-based German academic and entrepreneur, Magnus Resch, in 2016. Described as “Shazam for art,” the app allows users to identify works of art as easily as Shazam does for music. And DiCaprio, a staple at Art Basel and a big spender at auctions, wants to be part of it.
“Visual art is a powerful tool for spreading ideas, memorializing history, and bringing people together around a common purpose,” he said in a statement. “I am proud to partner with Magnus as the app continues to educate people about the art around them.”
To use Magnus, the user downloads the free app, available in the Android and Apple App Store, goes into a gallery, and takes a photo of artwork. All the relevant information on the art comes up on their screen, including how much it cost before, and the price of the art now.
The process of collecting that information caused Resch some headaches in its early days. Months after it first launched in April 2016, the app was taken down from the Apple Store after art databases Artsy and ArtFacts revealed to Artnet that Magnus was using their information verbatim without permission. According to Resch, the app was taken down because three Berlin art galleries complained that the app was giving the collector too much information for free. Magnus returned to the App Store in November 2016; according to Resch, it was after “realizing these claims were without merit.” Vanity Fair has reached out to representatives at Apple for comment.
According to Resch, Magnus works in more than 20,000 galleries and has more than 10 million images uploaded by users to its database. Resch said he gets the most e-mails from collectors, who, like DiCaprio, are excited to see art become accessible to more people who enjoy it.
“Collectors love our app,” he said. “They have to pay for the information that they get from our app for free. They take a picture and they get all the information—information that they’ve never had before. It’s changing the art market.”