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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Qatar buys ‘Card Players’ for $250mn, paying highest price ever for a work of art

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In a move that has upended the modern art market, Qatar has shelled out $250 million for Cezanne’s The Card Players – more than double the price that has ever been paid for a single work of art on auction.

The painting, one in a series of five, depicts Provençal peasants immersed in smoking their pipes and playing cards.

News of the sale, which actually took place last year, is only now coming out as the art world’s most influential prepare to travel to Qatar for Takashi Murakami’s upcoming exhibit at the Museum of Islamic Art.

Vanity Fair reports:

The most paid for a painting at auction is the $106 million, paid last year at Christie’s for a lush portrait of Picasso’s curvy mistress Marie-Thérèse.

Privately, works by Picasso, Pollock, Klimt, and de Kooning have changed hands in the $125 million-to-$150 million range, traded to and from by Ronald Lauder, Wynn, David Geffen, and the like. But no price has come close to this one…

This is a play for fame, tourism, and immortality—and the buyers are well versed in Hollywood-style hype.

So which lucky museum will The Card Players call home? 

Rumor has it that the painting will end up in the Qatar National Museum, currently closed for renovation by renowned architect Jean Nouvel, but slated to reopen in 2014.

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