Diddy Drops a Historic $21 Million on Kerry James Marshall Painting

'Past Times' is reported to be the largest sale of all time for a piece created by a living African American artist.

According to the New York Times, Diddy just spent a humongous $21.1 million on a Kerry James Marshall painting called Past Times, which thematically explores black experiences in America. 

On Wednesday night at Sotheby’s auction house the painting was sold to a then-unidentified bidder for that whopping aforementioned sum. It was an all-time high for the painter, age 62, and reportedly the highest sum ever paid for artwork created by a living African American artist. It’s pretty damn cool it went to Diddy.

“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 Jack Shainman, Marshall’s New York art dealer and gallerist. According to Shainman, Diddy was first introduced to the artist’s work by Swizz Beatz, a bit of an art collector himself, together with wife Alicia Keys

Marshall is a classically trained painter whose focus has been conveying the African American experience through art, to combat stereotypes, and introduce nuanced, realistic portrayals. His inspirations range from Rembrandt to Paolo Veronese, and the man isn’t slowing down.

“The world is recognizing Kerry James Marshall for the master that he is,” said Shainman, adding that “what Kerry is happiest doing is working in the studio.” As synchronicity would have it, Diddy’s no stranger to studio time, either. 

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