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Art Adviser Joel Straus to Sell Kerry James Marshall’s ‘Study for Past Times’ at Sotheby’s

Kerry James Marshall, Study for Past Times, 1997, acrylic, felt-tip pen, and graphite on paper mounted on board.


Joel Straus, principal of the Chicago-based art advisory company Straus Art Group, will put Kerry James Marshall’s Study for Past Times (1997) on the auction block—with an estimate between $900,000 and $1.2 million—at Sotheby’s Contemporary Curated auction in New York on September 25. He acquired the study for his private collection directly from the artist in 1999. The work served as the foundation for the painting Past Times (1997), which Straus purchased for the McCormick Place Art Collection in Chicago for $25,000. The full-scale painting sold at auction in May 2018 for a record-breaking $21.1 million to hip-hop mogul Sean Combs (formerly Puff Daddy, Puffy, Diddy, P. Diddy, and more).

Study for Past Times features numbers that point to the grid system that Marshall used to scale the painting, and Straus noted in a statement that “there is a painterly expression exhibited in the original study that provides a rare insight into Marshall’s work.”

He added, “I consider it an honor to have found and owned such a remarkable piece of contemporary art, and through this auction I look forward to providing the piece with a larger audience.”

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