Sean “Diddy” Combs is the proud owner of a $21.1 million work of art.
The hip-hop mogul has been revealed as the buyer of “Past Times,” a painting by Chicago artist Kerry James Marshall with a narrative centered on black experiences. There was a lot of speculation about who placed the winning bid, which is the most ever paid for the work of a living African-American artist, according to Sotheby’s.
On Thursday (May 17), Marshall’s gallerist and dealer, Jack Shainman, told The New York Times that the buyer was 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 Shainman.
Diddy, who came to Sotheby’s to view the painting, was introduced to Marshall’s work by his friend and avid art collector Swizz Beatz.
“Past Times,” by Kerry James Marshall, reached a benchmark for a living African-American artist, selling for $21.1 million, including fees, in an auction at Sotheby’s Wednesday night
— New York Times Arts (@nytimesarts) May 17, 2018
Marshall is a rising star in the museum world, with retrospectives at the Met Breuer, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. “[‘Past Times’] really captured the imagination, and I think galvanizes a whole new generation of people collecting African-American art,” said Amy Cappellazzo, chairman of Sotheby’s fine art division.
The money from the sale will be used to help pay for $500 million in capital maintenance projects at Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center, where the painting was on display, reports the Chicago Tribune. It was previously purchased for $25,000 in 1997.
Diddy’s net worth is valued at $825 million thanks to his investments in Ciroc vodka, DeLeón tequila, and Revolt TV, according to Forbes.