A version of "The Rehearsal of the Ballet Onstage" (1874) by Edgar Degas was commissioned from Banksy as a Christmas gift for Simon Cowell. The American Idol judge was painted into the work as the ballet master.
LONDON — What does one buy for the blunt mogul Simon Cowell for Christmas? Executives at Cowell's record label Syco came up with a creative holiday bonus/gift idea for the man who can buy virtually anything (and would likely criticize a less than satisfactory gift to your face). Turns out the British star is reportedly a secret art collector, a fan of both French impressionist Edgar Degas and graffiti artist Banksy. As a thank you for the success of the season's X Factor, Syco execs scored a rare personal commissioned painting from Banksy. The artist is said to have recreated the 1874 masterpiece Rehearsal of the Ballet Onstage by Degas, mocked-up with Cowell featured as the ballet master. The artwork cost an estimated $800,000.
So how did the critical American Idol judge react to the unique present? Did he call it "horrendous," "dreadful," "a nightmare?" Luckily, no. Sources say Cowell took one look at the painting and declared it "hilarious."