The iconic ‘The Sugar Shack’ (Marvin Gaye album cover) by Ernie Barnes has sold for $15.3 million!
A painting that was used as the cover for one of Marvin Gaye’s albums has sold for about $15.3 million at auction.
According to Christie’s auction house, Ernie Barnes’ joyful representation of a chaotic scene in a dance hall, named “The Sugar Shack,” went to Bill Perkins, a hedge fund manager and entrepreneur, after 10 minutes of bidding by more than 22 bidders.
The ultimate auction price for “The Sugar Shack” was 27 times greater than the previous most expensive Barnes work to sell, according to Christie’s. It also sold for $200,000, far exceeding its $150,000 estimate.
Barnes, who died in 2009, was born in North Carolina in 1938 and based his representations of social moments and images of everyday Black life on his personal experiences growing up in the American South during the Jim Crow era.
Barnes said he got the inspiration for “The Sugar Shack” from reminiscing on his youth and “not being able to go to a dance I wanted to go to when I was 11,” according to a 2002 interview in which the Oakland Tribune dubbed him the “Picasso of the Black art world.”
The image of “The Sugar Shack” has become well-known, because to its presence on Marvin Gaye’s 1976 album “I Want You” and its use in four seasons of the comedy “Good Times,” which followed the lives of a poor family in the Chicago housing projects.
Before becoming a painter, Barnes was a professional American football player, and many of his works portray sporting events such as basketball and football games.“I paint when ideas come and I see a vision of what I want from our common humanity.”
Over the years, Barne’s art has appeared on several album covers, including The Crusaders’ 1984 cover and B.B. King’s 2000 album “Making Love is Good for You.”