Chicago Artist's Painting Soars In Value At Sotheby's Auction

Mike Krauser
May 16, 2018 - 10:22 pm

Sotheby's

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A painting that once hung at McCormick Place, owned by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, was auctioned last night and it set a new record for a work by a living African American artist.

Sotheby's auctioned off the 1997 painting “Past Times” by Chicago artist Kerry James Marshall.

The bidding started at $6 million and within about three-and-a-half minutes and four bidders, it grew quickly. Ultimately the painting was sold at $21.5 million. The preauction estimate was $8-12 million. 

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority paid $25,000 for it two decades ago.

"We're absolutely thrilled,” said Cynthia McCafferty, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns McCormick Place.

"It's a terrific honor for a Chicago artist like Kerry James Marshall, and this far exceeded our expectations."

McCafferty said the proceeds will go into capital improvements at McCormick Place.

Note: We previously reported that the painting sold for $18.5 million, but due to other costs and fees, the purchase price was $21.5 million.