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Kerry James Marshall (American, b.1955)


Also known as:  Marshall, Kerry

Birth Place: Birmingham (Jefferson county, Alabama, United States)


Kerry James Marshall is an American artist who grew up in Los Angeles. A graduate of the Otis College of Art and Design in the 1970s, Marshall’s work has focused largely on the injustices and racist portrayals of African Americans, both in the artistic community and society as a whole. His use of mixed media, collage, and vibrant acrylic paints give a sense of unease and discomfort -- even as his paintings grab hold of the viewer’s eye. 

Marshall’s time living in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles had a profound influence on the young artist, giving his pieces a dissenting view of America and its racial injustices. From early on Marshall employed allegory and symbolism to his work to depict the injustices brought about by colonialism and a country built on slavery. The art world at large has embraced Marshall’s art, with exhibitions at some of the best galleries in the world. Marshall continues to paint even as he teaches at various institutions in the Chicago area. It’s exciting to see where Marshall, extremely talented, driven, and focused will go in the second half of an already great career.

What type of art does Kerry James Marshall create?

Kerry James Marshall is an American Artist whose art spans the gamut of collage, murals, and allegorical paintings. His paintings often feature mixed-media, ink, and acrylic paints, and focus on social injustices of the African American Community. Heavily influenced by southern life and the portrayals of African Americans in the western canon, Marshall’s work is as thought-provoking as it is arresting to look at.

How often do Kerry James Marshall paintings come up for auction?

Since Marshall is still alive and in the prime of his painting career, his paintings come up fairly often for auction. That said, his work is extremely valuable to both collectors and gallery owners alike -- a Marshall piece will often sell for millions of dollars. Time and time again his paintings sell for much more than estimates would dictate -- even when those estimates are high seven figures.

How much is a Kerry James Marshall painting worth?

Many Kerry James Marshall paintings are worth millions of dollars. This is for a number of reasons. His cultural cache has never been higher, he exhibits superior technique, and his subject matter and artistic process are entirely unique to him. All of these factors, plus an uncompromising artistic viewpoint make Marshall’s work almost universally in high demand. 

Which Kerry James Marshall painting is the most valuable? 

The most valuable painting ever made by Kerry James Marshall is Past Times (1997) which sold for an astonishing $21,114,500 in 2018. It is a colossal narrative painting that boldly confronts the African American mythos in the modern canon. Using intense, bold colors, and frank depictions of racism, it’s a piece that has been exhibited in the most prestigious galleries in the country, including the Whitney and the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art

What are the most famous paintings by Kerry James Marshall? 

Beyond Past Times, there are a number of pieces by Kerry James Marshall that have captured the national consciousness. Untitled (Painter) (2008) went for 7.3 million dollars at auction, almost three times the amount of the high estimate. Still Life With Wedding Portrait (2015) is also a famed Marshall work. As previously stated, Marshall is relatively young and still producing art, which means that his best work may still be in front of him.

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Kerry James Marshall Original Art values sold at auction

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