Kerry James Marshall $8m Work to Star in Sotheby's May Sale

Loma Linda University is selling 1993 KJM anatomy-themed work to raise money for research

Marion Maneker

Wed, Apr 13, 2022

Kerry James Marshall $8m Work to Star in Sotheby's May Sale
Kerry James Marshall, Beauty Examined (1993) estimated at $8 million

Sotheby’s is launching the viewing of its just-announced Kerry James Marshall painting that will be featured in the May 17th The Now sale in Los Angeles because the painting comes from Loma Lina University’s Institute for Genetics and Translational Genomics. Starting on Friday, fans of Marshall’s work can go to Sotheby’s Beverly Hills viewing rooms to Beauty Examined, a 1993 work that is a meditation on themes of anatomy and objectification. 

Estimated at $8 million, the painting was donated to Loma Linda University by Dr. Charles Sims. It is now being sold to fund further research. 

The record price for a Kerry James Marshall is the $21 million Sean Combs paid in 2018 for Past Times from 1997. That astonishing price was confirmed a year and a half later when Vignette 19 from 2014 sold for $18.4 million. 

Beauty Examined comes from Marshall’s first show with Jack Shainman Gallery. Works from early in his career have a slightly different price history. Nat-Shango (Thunder) from 1991 was sold for $7.5 million at Christie’s in May of last year. Terra Incognita from 1991 sold for $2.775 million at Phillips the season after the first big sale in 2018. Another work from the Lost Boys series of works made in 1993 also made $2.65 million the day after Past Times detonated Marshall’s market. 

The takeaway from this price history is that Sotheby’s has given this work a strong estimate slightly above any price achieved for an early work by Marshall.