Yusaku Maezawa Awarded France's Officer of The Order Of Arts And Letters
By Sophie von Wunster
On March 11, the French government presented renowned Japanese former rockstar, billionaire entrepreneur and art collector Yusaku Maezawa with the Officier de L'Ordre Arts et Lettres (Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters) award, which recognizes “eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.”
In May 2017, Maezawa gained attention in the art world for his record-breaking purchase of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s untitled skull painting, dated 1982, for USD 110.5 million from Sotheby’s New York. The collector received his award at a ceremony in the Brooklyn Museum, New York, where the Basquiat artwork he bought has been on view for the past six weeks, before continuing to the next stop on its world tour, the Seattle Art Museum.
Maezawa has been an active collector over the past decade, procuring artworks by artists including American visual artists Richard Prince, Jeff Koons and Bruce Nauman, among others. In 2012, Maezawa founded the Contemporary Art Foundation (CAF) in Tokyo, which organizes exhibitions, and offers grants to young artists and musicians.
The French government has bestowed honors on several high-profile Asian art patrons in recent years, notably Hong Kong businessman and founder of K11 Art Foundation Adrian Cheng, who was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters in December 2017, and Indonesian-Chinese collector and Yuz Museum founder Budi Tek, who received the same title in August 2017.
Sophie von Wunster is an editorial intern at ArtAsiaPacific.
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