Qatari royal family buys Cezanne for $250 mln
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily NewsOne of Cezanne’s best-loved paintings has sold for 160 million pounds, the highest price ever paid for a work of art. “The Card Players,” one in a series of five works depicting French peasants playing cards, was bought by the Gulf kingdom of Qatar, according to Britain’s Daily Mail.
The ruling royal family beat two of the world’s top art dealers to win the masterpiece. The price dwarfs the previous record of 89 million pounds (equal to 99 million pounds today) handed over for Jackson Pollock’s painting “No. 5, 1948,” which sold during a boom in the art market in 2006.
Paul Cezanne, hailed as the father of modern art, painted “The Card Players” series in the 1890s. The series includes five depictions of Provençal peasants immersed in their game. The depictions are considered to be some of the French post-impressionist’s most important works and are often described as “human still life.”
Four paintings of the series are held in major collections, including one at the Courtauld Gallery in London, the painting bought by Qatar being the last in private hands.
Only now has the record price been revealed, in a report in the United States magazine Vanity Fair.
Qatar’s royal family has been quietly amassing an enormous art collection. It is now regarded as the world’s biggest contemporary art buyer.
The Cezanne is likely to be put on show in the Qatar National Museum, alongside works by Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Mark Rothko that have also been bought recently.
The Qatari royal family does not comment on its art purchases but, according to Vanity Fair, it beat offers of at least 139 million pounds from two of the world’s top art dealers, Larry Gagosian and William Acquavella.
Victor Wiener, a leading art appraiser, told Vanity Fair, “You take any art history course and ‘Card Players’ is likely [to be] in it. It’s a major, major image.”
Cezanne’s art, which mainly focuses on landscapes and still life, is credited with bridging late 19th century impressionism and cubism of the 20th century.
Until now, the highest confirmed sale price for a Cezanne was 38.3 million pounds for a still life sold in New York in 1999.
New York Metropolitan Museum of Art curator Gary Tinterow, who oversaw the exhibition of the Cezanne series, gushed over the series of oil paintings.
He told Reuters, “Created in the 1890s while the artist was living at his family’s estate outside Aix-en-Provence, these images capture the character Cezanne admired in the people of the region.