Paul Cezanne and “The Card Players”- Amazing facts You should Know About World’s One of The Most Expensive Painting Privately sold for more than $250 million

“The Card Players” World’s one of the most expensive painting ever sold.

If price of the paintings seem insane, well, it must be since “The Card Players” of Paul Cezanne hit the world record of most privately sold paintings in the world. For more than $250 million, Qatar’s Royal family bought none other than this temperamental representation of Aix-en-Provence peasants indulged in a card game. Nonetheless, with this purchase, the Qatar gets more than a post-impressionist masterpiece i.e. a ticket to enter the world’s exclusive club. There are four other paintings that belongs to this genre and are been preserved in Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Courtland, Musse d’Orsay and the Barnes Foundation.

Cezanne inspired Cubism, portraying abstract art and his painting sale actually took place in 2011. All the details of ‘The Card Players’ sale was kept secret to the world but later came out through V.I.P collectors, dealers and curators. In fact, the Royal family themselves never commented on the purchases made. However, the tight circle of auction, dealers and officials involved in had to sign confidentiality agreements that confirmed the sources about the prices and record purchase of “The Card Players”.

When you see the painting, first thing that comes in mind is it depicts Provencal peasants playing cards and smoking pipes. But, if you look closely, you realise that peasants still look real life like and the entire scene is quiet and full of concentration, like the real players do. In fact, when this painting was created, it is said that Cezanne’s model in the painting consists of men who worked for his family estate and before creating each painting, the artist created number of sketches to put them in a composition.

The card player subject is not new, but the difference can be seen in 17th century paintings that were full of hysteria, drama and reflected baroque energy. Similarly, this 20th century artist used motif that belonged to 17th century French and Dutch genre paintings which depicted card games played by drunken, rowdy gamblers in taverns. Cezanne paintings can though be differentiated in some ways especially in narrativizes and conventional characterization since none of the men are been seen drinking. Also, we do not see any money involved that were typical attribute of French and Dutch genre paintings.

Quick Glance

  • The Card Players’ is not one painting, but a series of five created between 1890-1895.
  • This series is been regarded as cornerstone of Cezanne’s “final period” during which he created some of the most marvellous paintings.
  • All the paintings are of different sizes ranging from 4 ½ by 6’ and all the way down to 1 ½ by 2’.
  • The men in the painting are not betting men as no money can be seen on the table.
  • The series of ‘The Card Players Game’ has been spread around the world and shares no common home, among which, one is been privately held by Qatar’s Royal family.
  • The exact sequence of The Card Players creation remains a matter of debate where historians believe that this Cezanne’s creation showed he scaled down his figures from five to two according to his work progression.
  • All the models used for paintings belonged really close to Cezanne’s home like men working in his farmlands.
  • Cezanne used to make extensive research and planning before his final painting. He used to make dozens of sketches again and again to practice before putting them together in his masterpieces.
  • The Card Players actually challenged the emotional convention of such an intense situation. 
  • In August 1961, one of the eight Cezanne’s paintings made earlier were stolen by burglars, but it is believed that they were recovered later after paying a huge ransom.
  • To honour the stolen painting, France issued a memorial stamp that depicted painting itself.

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