Saturday, April 20, 2024

Eddie Murphy Says Replica of Original Famed “Good Times” Painting That That He Owns Sold Last Year for $16 Million, He Bought it for $50,000


Eddie Murphy gave Jimmy Kimmel a rare interview last night to promote his new Netflix movie. He was charming and surprisingly candid.

Among the things they discussed: Eddie’s ownership of a famous painting, “The Sugar Shack,” by Eddie Barnes.

Eddie told Kimmel that he owns the original of the painting, made in 1972, for which he paid $50,000 while he was on “Saturday Night Live.” A second version of the painting, made by Barnes, sold for $16 million at Christie’s auction house last year.

“The Sugar Shack” became famous when it commissioned for the cover of Marvin Gaye’s 1972 album, “I Want You.” It became known as the “Good Times” painting because Barnes made a different version of it in 1976 that hung on the set of the Norman Lear sitcom. It was supposed to be the work of the show’s character, J.J., played by Jimmie Walker.

The 1976 version that sold at Christie’s was called “Sugar Shack II” and that’s the one that sold at Christie’s. Murphy told Kimmel he bought the original from Gaye’s estate for just $50,000. Gaye had commissioned the painting for the album cover.

The painting, according to one report, is more famous in some Black circles than the Mona Lisa. It depicts a rapturous group of dancer in 1952 at the Durham Armory, an iconic dance hall in segregated North Carolina. According to the Christie’s catalog, Barnes sneaked into the Armory at age thirteen, “engendering a memory of music and movement that would inspire the creation of The Sugar Shack twenty-four years later.” Barnes said of the experience, “It was the first time my innocence met with the sins of dance.”

You can see below Murphy is proud to own the painting, and thrilled that the replica sold for $16 million. Kimmel jokes with him, “You’re rich!” Murphy just nods his head. (Wait til his 10 children fight for that piece of art!)

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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