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By Lisa Marie Segarra
May 19, 2017
Yusaku Maezawa, noted Japanese collector and entrepreneur, bought Jean-Michel Basquiat's Masterpiece  Untitled,  for $110.5 million after a 10-minute bidding war at Sotheby's in New York on May 18, 2017.
Yusaku Maezawa, noted Japanese collector and entrepreneur, bought Jean-Michel Basquiat's Masterpiece "Untitled," for $110.5 million after a 10-minute bidding war at Sotheby's in New York on May 18, 2017.
Maezawa: Courtesy of Yusaku Maezawa—Sotheby's/AP; Basquiat: Sipa/AP

Yusaku Maezawa is one of the richest men in Japan, and he just spent $110.5 million on a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting, the highest price for a piece of artwork by an American artist.

Besides being an is an avid art collector, Maezawa has a net worth of $3.6 billion, according to Forbes. Here’s what to know about Maezawa.

How did he make his money?

Maezawa made his billions by creating the Start Today company, which is in the electronic commerce industry, in 1998, according to Forbes. Maezawa serves president and representative director of the company, Reuters reports. He also created the company Zozotown, Forbes reports, who notes it is Japan’s largest online fashion mall.

What other art has he bought?

The Basquiat piece Maezawa bought is the most expensive painting sold in by an American artist, according to CNN Money, but it was not the Japanese billionaire’s first big art purchase. Maezawa previously purchased another untitled painting by Basquiat for $57.3 million, the BBC reports. His other art purchases include works from Jeff Koons, Christopher Wool and Richard Prince at prices varying in the millions of dollars, according to the BBC. The Japan Times reported that he spent $98 million on art within just two days in 2016.

Maezawa told Forbes in April that he started buying and collecting art 10 years ago and that he especially enjoys collecting contemporary art.

What does he do with the art?

The BBC reports that he is the founder of the Contemporary Art Foundation in Tokyo, which puts on two shows a year. He is also planning to build a museum in Chiba, Japan, just outside of Tokyo, according to Forbes.

CNN Money reported that Maezawa plans to loan his latest painting out around world before putting it in his personal museum.

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The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

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Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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