MEET The Black Chicago Artist Kerry James Who Created The Painting That Sold To Diddy For $21.1 Million Dollars.

The Painting "PastTimes" Acquired From Kerry James in 1997 By The Metropolitan Pier for $25,000. Acquired from the Pier by Diddy for $21.1 Million Dollars.

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns McCormick Place, sold “Past Times,” a 13-by-9-foot work of acrylic and collage on canvas, for $21.1 million in an auction Wednesday evening at Sotheby’s New York.

The sale price of “Past Times” was a record for Marshall and the most ever paid for the work of a living Black artist, according to Sotheby’s.

For the art world, the record auction sale elevates Marshall, and his genre of contemporary Black art, to elite status, experts said. “The painting really captured the imagination, and I think galvanizes a whole new generation of people collecting Black art,” said the chairman of Sotheby’s fine art division.

Kerry James was raised in Alabama and Los Angeles, Marshall, 62, moved to Chicago in the late 1980s as a young, unknown artist. He has since become a fixture on the local arts scene and, more recently, a prominent national figure, with a broad body of work capturing the complexity and beauty of Black Life.

A South Side resident, he created a mural last year on the west facade of the Chicago Cultural Center — the site of his first showing — honoring women who have shaped arts and culture in the city, from Ruth Page to Oprah Winfrey. 
His fee for the project, which was dedicated in December, was $1.
"Marshall’s work illustrates the American experience as unimaginable without black history and culture. Through the tropes of traditional painting—portraiture, landscape, and other narrative modes—he builds a conversation around visibility and invisibility. The result is a stunning body of work that is both intimate and monumental."

There were four bidders for “Past Times,” pushing the final bid to $18.5 million, not including fees, which brought the sale price to $21.1 million, Darrell Rocha, a Sotheby’s spokesman, said Thursday. 
Entrepreneur Sean "Diddy" Combs was the buyer.
McCormick Place will use the money to help pay for $500 million in needed capital maintenance projects over the next 15 years at the convention center campus along South Lake Shore Drive.