By Frederick H. Lowe
Sotheby’s Auctions has sold Kerry James Marshall’s painting “An Image of Black Love” for more than $18 million, the second highest price at auction for a living African American artist and three times more than it was expected to fetch.
The nearly six-foot tall painting shows three couples in a park-like vignette framed with strokes of pink.
Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction put the painting up for sale November 14th in New York. It was expected to bring $6.5 million to $7.5 million but it sold $18. 5 million.
The record sales’ price for a living black painter also is held by another Marshall painting “Past Times,” which sold for $21.1 million. Sean “Puffy” Combs purchased the painting in 2019. The name of the buyer for “An Image of Black Love,” has not been disclosed.
Marshall grew up in Los Angeles, but lives in Chicago.
From April 23 to September 25, 2016, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago hosted the “Kerry James Marshall: Mastry” the first ever retrospective of his work. The retrospective featured more than 20 of his paintings and drawings.
My son, my wife and I went to the exhibit.
Several security guards told me that Marshall would frequently show up unannounced at MCA and discuss for several hours his paintings with visitors before leaving. I kept missing him.