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A 48,000% Return on a Painting May Be Illinois' Best Investment

  • Kerry James Marshall’s ‘Past Times’ could fetch $12 million
  • It was bought for $25,000 in 1997 by a state-created authority

Art may not save the world, but it could help a municipal authority in Illinois.

The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority voted Tuesday to sell a painting by Chicago artist Kerry James Marshall, estimated at $8 million to $12 million, at a Sotheby’s auction next month. The MPEA purchased the monumental canvas “Past Times” for $25,000 in 1997, a potential increase of as much as 48,000 percent.