Diddy drops record duckets on contemporary painting by Black artist

The rap impresario's payment for the Kerry James Marshall piece is reportedly the largest ever for an African-American painting

Facebook (Sothebys)


Sean “Diddy” Combs is all about the Benjamins, baby, and dropped some serious cash on a timeless Kerry James Marshall painting that was reportedly sold to the mega-star at Sotheby’s for $21.1 million.

The “Past Times” artwork is said to be the highest ever for the work of a living African-American artist, reports Fortune.

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The 13-foot-wide, sought-after piece simply displays a Black family happily enjoying an afternoon at a lakefront park, which art critics compare to Georges Suerat’s “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte,” depicted instead on the Chicago shore of Lake Michigan.

The record sale comes after a winter 2016 display of Marshall’s work at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, according to Fortune.

The sale of the work may indicate that paintings by African-American artists are getting more popular.

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama recently unveiled their official presidential portraits at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.

Michelle Obama’s portrait was painted by Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald, while Yale painter Kehinde Wiley pulled off his unique interpretation of Barack Obama. Both African-American artists were handpicked by the Obamas.

Combs’ is somewhat of an art connoisseur, having collected pieces by Ai Weiwei and Andy Warhol. The New York Times reports that hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz, who is a collector himself, introduced Combs’ to Marshall’s work. 

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Marshall’ work is best known for capturing the life of working class African-Americans. The 63-year-old grew up in Watts, Los Angeles an area known for discrimination and a historic riot that culminated over intense race relations.