New York, City, USA: Entrepreneur, fashionista, Grammy Award-winning record producer and Hip-hop Mogul, Sean Combs – the one and only P. Diddy – has been revealed as the buyer of Kerry James Marshall’s “Past Times,” the masterpiece that sold at Sotheby’s New York for 21 million US dollars on Wednesday – setting a sale price record for a work by a living African-American artist.
Past Times, which shows African-Americans picnicking, waterskiing and listening to music in a Chicago park had been displayed in the South building of McCormick Place for years. It was bought originally in 1997 for 25,000 US dollars by Chicago’s Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA).
Kerry James Marshall’s art dealer, Jack Shainman confirmed that Sean Combs was the buyer. He said it meant a lot that the painting has found a home in a collection with purpose and an eye toward preserving legacy.
“I know that this work has found a home in a collection with purpose and an eye toward preserving legacy — that of Sean Combs, and that means a lot,” said Mr. Shainman, who has represented Mr. Marshall since his first show at the gallery in 1993.
“The world is recognizing Kerry James Marshall for the master that he is,” the gallerist said, adding that “what Kerry is happiest doing is working in the studio.” Shainman added.
Kerry James Marshall was born in Alabama, and he grew up in Los Angeles before becoming a Chicago resident. He specializes in depicting scenes of African-American life.
Mr. Marshall has been a rising star in the museum world, with major retrospectives at the Met Breuer, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. His portrayals of what it means to be black in America have expanded the frontiers of art, and the subjects his exuberant paintings embrace — youths, homes, nudes, and families at leisure — challenge racial stereotypes.