Diddy and celebrated painter, Kerry James Marshall, just made art history. The Grammy-Award winning producer and rap mogul was recently revealed as the winning bidder behind a $21.1 million Marshall painting sold during a Sotherby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction in New York earlier in the week.
The painting, titled “Past Times,” marks the most expensive piece by a living black artist to be sold to a buyer. Jack Shainman, Marshall’s gallerist of over 20 years, revealed to the New York Times on Thursday (May 17), that Diddy acquired the piece. “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 Shainman.
Swizz Beatz introduced Diddy to Marshall’s work, according to the Times.
Marshall’s painting was originally purchased for $25,000 in 1997 by Chicago’s Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns McCormick Place where a replica of the painting hangs.
Shainman congratulated Marshall over the sale on Twitter Friday (May 18) writing in part, “We’re excited about your plans for the future.”
Marshall was born in Birmingham, Ala. in 1955, but grew up in the Watts district of Los Angeles. He currently lives in Chicago and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Otis College of Design in 1978, along with receiving an honorary doctorate in 1999.
His exquisite creations, which include paintings, sculptural installations, collages, and photography are a visual commentary of the black experience, that confront racial stereotypes and emphasize typically excluded black subjects.
In a 2012 interview, Marshall described his pieces as transcending “what is perceived to be the limitations of a race-conscious kind of work.”
See more of his art below.