Qatar Royal Family pay £158m for The Card Players
The nation of Qatar which is better known for its oil than its European art collection has purchased a painting by the post Impressionist, Paul Cézanne for what is thought to be the highest price ever paid for a work of art. The Card Players was purchased for more than £158.4 ($250m). There are four other versions of the painting located in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Musée d’Orsay, the Courtauld, and the Barnes Foundation. Qatar was ranked the world’s biggest contemporary art buyer last year. The Qatar National Museum is now a likely new home for The Card Players.
The painting was bought last year from George Embiricos, a Greek shipping magnate who passed away soon after the sale was completed. The amount paid to acquire it was disclosed yesterday by Vanity Fair Magazine. Embiricos had rarely loaned the painting to institutions. His estate rejected offers put in by two of the world’s top art dealers, Larry Gagosian and William Acquavella, of approximately £139 million when the Qatari royal family trumped the offer. The sale has been rumoured for over three months. The Qatar Royal family also notably purchased Jackson Pollock’s No 5, 1948, in 2006 for £88.7.
Paul Cezanne January 19, 1839 – October 22, 1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cezanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th century Impressionism and the early 20th century’s new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. The line attributed to both Matisse and Picasso that Cezanne “is the father of us all” cannot be easily dismissed.
Cezanne’s work demonstrates a mastery of design, colour, composition and draftsmanship. His often repetitive, sensitive and exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognisable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields, at once both a direct expression of the sensations of the observing eye and an abstraction from observed nature. The paintings convey Cezanne’s intense study of his subjects, a searching gaze and a dogged struggle to deal with the complexity of human visual perception.