CHICAGO (CBS) – A Kerry James Marshall painting, owned by McCormick Place, caused quite the stir last month when it was announced that the painting was expected to fetch between $8-12 million at a Sotheby’s auction.
As CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, the painting sold for even more than expected, selling for a record $21,114,500.
The bidding for “Past Times” was fast and furious, jumping $10,000,000 in less than two minutes and settling at a record-breaking price for a Kerry James Marshall painting. The winning bid was for $18.5 million. Including fees, the total price for the painting came out to $21,114,500, according to Sotheby’s
It was a big return on an investment for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which bought the painting titled “Past Times” in 1997 for $25,000 and displayed it in the south building of McCormick Place where a replica now hangs.
Former McCormick Place Art Curator, Joel Straus, who helped acquire the painting in 1997 was at Monday night’s Sotheby’s auction.
He talked to CBS 2 via Facetime.
“It’s extraordinary to think we bought it in 1997 for $25,000. It’s hard to express the excitement and the affirmation for someone who is really an important painter,” said Straus.
Kerry James Marshall is touted as one of America’s greatest living painters. His works often capture the beauty of African American life.
Back in 2016, he talked to CBS 2 about his inspiration, saying, “It becomes clear to you after a while that there’s an absence of yourself or images that look like you in the museum.”
In 1997, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority paid $25,000 for the painting. In a statement, a spokesperson for MPEA said the proceeds from the $21.1 million sale will be used, in part, for capital maintenance improvements at McCormick Place.
The buyer has not been announced at this time.
(This report originally reported the total sale price for the painting was $18.5 million, which did not include a buyer’s premium and other fees added to the winning bid. The report has been corrected to reflect the correct total of $21,114,500.)