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Larry Ellison unveils his Japanese art collection in San Francisco

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison speaking during the 2011 Oracle OpenWorld Keynote in San Francisco.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

It’s widely known that Larry Ellison, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Oracle, loves fast yachts, fast airplanes and expensive Malibu real estate. The billionaire has also made no secret of his love of Japanese culture, and has amassed an impressive collection of priceless Japanese art spanning thousands of years.

Ellison is giving the public its first taste of his Japanese art collection in an exhibition that opened over the weekend at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. “In the Moment: Japanese Art from the Larry Ellison Collection” runs through Sept. 22 and contains 64 items from various eras of Japanese history.

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The museum said that the exhibition features works from the Edo and Momoyama periods, as well as wooden sculptures dating from the 13th and 14th centuries. Ellison has displayed some of the art at his imperial Japanese-style estate in Woodside, Calif., according to the museum.

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In 2008 Ellison hired Emily Sano, the former director of the Asian Art Museum, to become his personal art curator and advisor. “In the Moment” was organized by Laura Allen, the museum’s curator of Japanese art, who selected the objects from the hundreds of items in Ellison’s collection.

A review in the San Francisco Chronicle says that the show “merely samples the Ellison collection, which runs to several hundred artifacts. But it comes much closer to offering a profile of his taste than a synopsis of Japanese art history.”

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Ellison is the highest paid CEO in the U.S., receiving $96.2 million in compensation last year, according to a recent ranking by the New York Times. His personal net worth is estimated by Forbes to be $43 billion.

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