King’s Road gallery Tanya Baxter Contemporary has been selling Rocco Ritchie’s 20th century inspired works since 2018 – and nobody knew, until now.
It turns out Madonna’s son, Rocco Ritchie has secretly been working as an artist under the pseudonym ‘Rhed’ for years — while his work was secretly selling for thousands of pounds.
His undercover name landed on the art scene in 2018, and his paintings began to command five figures, championed by the ‘wealthy art elite’ as well as the likes of Madonna – who it now transpires is his mother.
21-year-old Rocco Ritchie was labelled by Chelsea’s Tanya Baxter Contemporary gallery as “a young emerging artist whose cultural background is diverse and unconventional”.
The media has often garnered interest in Rocco Ritchie for his signature style of baggy jeans, slouchy T-shirts, and clean-shaven heads. But something happened in 2018 that changed the son of the constantly evolving Queen of Pop and gangster flick director supreme, Guy Ritchie.
He went from a rebel realness to a sophisticated Greece lightning look, rocking a vintage tailored Khaki trouser and slicked-back brunette hair. However, according to Tatler, he appeared to be a chip off the old block.
The artist has inherited his father’s distinctive sartorial flair in an outfit that could have been lifted from a set of one of his dapper gangster films.
The star was outed by a photograph of Jerrod Blandino, co-founder of cosmetic company Too Faced, who betrayed Rhed’s anonymity by showing Ritchie posing next to one of his paintings in the same style as those exhibited in London.
Using mixed media on canvas, Ritchie…I mean Rhed, likes to depict the human body with mysterious titles like Untitled – so mysterious.
Rhed’s paintings depict the human figure in muted colours, occasionally making explicit pop-culture references, as in the painting Gosling, which might depict actor Ryan Gosling, though it’s hard to tell since there’s no likeness in the generic male figure’s startled-looking face.
I just wonder who he painted here?
Perhaps a clue to the artist’s hidden identity lies in the painting Rhed-M, showing a blond woman. Could the M stand for Madonna? Mother?
Although Rhed’s pieces are listed on an official site, some art critics don’t share Tanya Baxter’s excitement. Jonathan Jones, The Guardian’s art critic, says:
“Painting takes work. It, therefore, seems a shame that Rhed has been put into the public eye when he’s just not, at this point, a real artist.”
According to PageSix, Rhed…I mean Rocco Ritchie wants to avoid the limelight which is why he is releasing his work under a fake name. He is also heavily inspired by the artist Banksy which could explain his further hidden talents.
However, his choice to use a fake name is an interesting one.
It comes as scores of celebrity offspring continuously using their famous names to promote themselves. Brooklyn Beckham has attempted everything from photography to cooking with his last name supporting the journey, while others are dipping their toes in acting, modelling, and singing.
Rhed’s paintings are on offer at Artsy, where prices range from $17,000 to $31,700.
“He has embraced a new genre of bricolage art with expressionist verve and street energy. It is no surprise that he first dabbled as a graffiti artist and his work certainly has hints of Basquiat and Banksy” – Tanya Baxter Contemporary