In the high stakes poker game that is the current art market, Qatar has just trumped all players with a record breaking $250 million private purchase of Cezanne’s Card Players. Vanity Fair has reported that in a private transaction with the estate of shipping magnate George Embiricos just before his death in 2011, the Qatari Royal Family outbid super dealers Larry Gagosian and William Acquavella to nab the last painting from the Card Players series in private hands to add a crown jewel to their expanding art collection. The sizable ante brings the city of Doho and its National museums, due to reopen in 2014, to the table with some serious players as Cezanne only produced five canvases in the Card Players series painted from 1890 – 1896; the other four are in the prestigious collections of the Met in New York, , the Courtauld in London, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, and the eclectic Barnes Foundation in Philly.
The Vanity Fair article concludes,
Is the buying spree over? Not a chance. Qatar made another major acquisition last year, hiring Christie’s chairman Edward J. Dolman as executive director of the Museums Authority.
All five versions of the Card Players were on view February 9 – May 8, 2011 at the Met in New York