Combs, a grammy winning producer and entrepreneur, was the buyer of Kerry James Marshall
’s Past Times
(1997), which sold for $21.1 million at Sotheby’s contemporary art sale in New York on Wednesday. Combs was introduced to Marshall’s work by his friend Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean, gallerist Jack Shainman told the New York Times.
Shainman represents Marshall and confirmed Combs as the buyer. Dean is an avid collector in his own right, telling Artsy
that he was the buyer of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
’s An Assistance of Amber
(2017) at the same auction where Combs snagged Past Times
. The work not only quadrupled Marshall’s previous auction record, but also made him the most expensive living African American artist
at auction. Past Times
was purchased for just $25,000 in 1997 by The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, an Illinois municipal corporation, which consigned the work to Sotheby’s.