Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs Displays a $21.1 Million Kerry James Marshall Painting at His 50th Birthday Party - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise magazine Fall 2019 issue

He does it for the art!

The work of art that Sean “Diddy” Combs purchased for $21.1 million was on display at his 50th birthday party according to CNBC. The painting is entitled “Past Times” by Kerry James Marshall and was purchased in 2018 at a Sotheby’s auction.

By purchasing the piece for $21.1 million, Combs made it the highest sale for an artwork by a living African American artist ever. According to Sotheby’s, the estimated hammer price for the 1997 work was initially $8 million to $12 million.

According to The New York Times back in May 2018, Combs stated he was influenced to get into art collecting through hip-hop producer and Alicia Keys‘ husband, Kasseem Dean, who goes by the moniker, Swizz Beatz.

Related: Why Investing in Black Women’s Art is a Power Move

Dean convinced Combs to go to Sotheby’s to see Marshall’s work and from there, he learned more about the artist’s backstory through Marshall’s dealer, Jack Shainman. “I thought it was important that that particular piece went to an owner of color,” Dean told the Times. “It was time for us to step up to the plate and let the world know that we do own a piece of this market as well.” “Past Times” depicts an African American family in an idyllic suburban setting in Chicago, engaging in leisure activities, like golfing, boating, and playing croquet.

For Marshall, who lives and works in Chicago, the $21.1 million sale is a career-high for him. Just last month, in November, a painting titled “Vignette 19” sold for nearly $18.5 million at Sotheby’s.

Related: Kehinde Wiley’s Statue of African American Man Unveiled in Response to Confederate Monuments in Richmond

Collecting art has always been a way to build and create generational wealth. If you’re interested in learning ways that you can start investing in art, click here for the ultimate guide.