Little Known Black History Fact: Kerry James Marshall

The art world was ablaze after Chicago-based artist Kerry James Marshall’s “Past Times” piece sold for a whopping $21 million in an auction last week. The buyer, who was not known immediately, was confirmed to be Sean “Diddy” Combs and is considered the most paid for an art piece by an African-American artist.

Diddy joins other big-name Black art collectors such as Grant and Tamia Hill, Swizz Beatz, and Jay-Z, among others.

The painting was sold at New York’s Sotheby’s auction house, and Marshall’s art dealer confirmed Diddy as the buyer to the New York Times. “Past Times” shows a Black family in an urban park taking in the day complete with a waterfront view.

Marshall, 62, was born in Birmingham, Alabama and raised primarily in the South Central Los Angeles region. Much of Marshall’s art is influenced by his own life, and appears often in his work.

He is a 1978 graduate of the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, and was a 1997 MacArthur Foundation genius grant. Marshall also taught art and design at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2017, Marshall was given the “Fifth Star Award” by the city of Chicago.

 

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