The painting which cost an overwhelming $21,1 million is believed to be the highest price ever paid for a living African-American artist’s work.
Fortune reports the record sale is part of a broad and ongoing art market acceleration that has produced many all-time high prices for individual artists and categories.
The art market reportedly usually rises with the broader economy, but contributing factors in this cycle have also included increased interest from Chinese collectors.
According to Fortune, African-American artists are enjoying a spotlight moment, as seen in the enthusiasm that recently greeted Kehinde Wiley’s official portrait of President Barack Obama.
The painting depicts a black family enjoying an afternoon at a lakefront park. It apparently balances anxiety and celebration, depicting a positive image of blackness that can’t avoid tension with America’s racial reality.
Combs’ art collection features all-time greats, reportedly including works by Ai Weiwei and Andy Warhol. New York Times reports Combs was introduced to Marshall’s work by the hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz, also an art collector.
Born in 1955, Marshall’s work shares a lot with the musical genre, including a focus on the black experience and the frequent use of visual sampling, deconstruction and remixing.
New York Times reports that Marshall, who is considered a local hero in Chicago, has been a rising star in the museum world with major retrospectives at the Met Breuer, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
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His portrayals of what it means to be black in the USA have expanded the frontiers of art, and the subjects his exuberant paintings embrace — youths, homes, nudes, and families at leisure — challenge racial stereotypes.
Additional sources: Fortune and New York Times