Earlier this week, Kerry James Marshall’s “Past Times” painting was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for $21 million USD. The buyer of this work was initially unknown, but has now been revealed to be none other than the Puff Daddy himself.
Sean “Diddy” Combs purchased the thirteen by nine foot work depicting a black family in the midst of a picnic around Chicago park. The painting was originally unveiled at the Whitney Biennial in 1997, and sold to the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority in Chicago later that year for just $25,000 USD.
Now, at its latest purchase price of twenty-one big M’s (USD), “Past Times” has become the highest paid work from a living African-American artist. (Jean-Michel Basquiat is pretty hard to top).
“I know that this work has found a home in a collection with purpose and an eye toward preserving legacy,” says Marshall’s New York dealer, Jack Shainman.
“That of Sean Combs, and that means a lot.”
Given Diddy’s lengthy tenure in hip-hop, as well as his sharp business acumen in ventures such as Cîroc vodka, $21 million USD is pretty much pocket change to the big man on campus. That being said, this shouldn’t be taken so lightly or in such a glib manner. As the entire exchange just goes to show that ballin’ has no limits– not even in the world of art appreciation or statements regarding race and social politics.
Take note, fellas.