by Kerry James Marshall
beauty examined will first appear at auction in May at Sotheby’s New York, with an estimated value of US$8-12 million.
Painted in 1993, the same year Marshall, 66, made his solo debut at the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, beauty examined draws on a range of art historical and cultural influences, combining text, images and patterns on a large-scale canvas.
“Kerry James Marshall is one of the most dynamic and influential artists working today, whose paintings and portraits insert black figures into a wide range of pictorial traditions. beauty examined is a quintessential example of the artist’s work, interrogating both the canon of Western art and collective preconceptions about beauty,” said Elizabeth Webb, senior contemporary art specialist at Sotheby’s, in a statement. Press release.
The painting was acquired shortly after its creation by Dr. Charles Sims, a pathologist based in Los Angeles. He then gifted it to his alma mater, Loma Linda University in California, where the painting has resided since 2019.
The proceeds from the sale of beauty examined will benefit the university’s Institute of Genetics and Translational Genomics, Sotheby’s said.
While many of Marshall’s paintings celebrate black culture by depicting the black figure at leisure in exuberant color, beauty examined is in a darker mood with a reclining female body in the foreground.
The painting will be offered as the flagship lot of the auction house’s “The Now Evening Auction” on May 19, which focuses on ultra-contemporary works. It will be exhibited at Sotheby’s Los Angeles galleries from April 15 to 20 before returning to New York on May 6.
Marshall’s auction record was set by his 1997 large-scale painting, past times, which sold for US$21.1 million at a 2018 Sotheby’s auction to Grammy-winning record producer and entrepreneur Sean Combs.