02/07/2012 :  RECORD PRICE PAID FOR CARD PLAYER ART
 
Qatari royalty pays $250 000 for nineteenth century Cezanne masterpiece
 
One of a series of five Cezanne impressions of card players painted in the 1890's has changed hands for a record $250 000, reports the publication Vanity Fair.
 
Greek shipping magnate George Embiricos let the masterpiece, widely believed to be the best of the series, go after an offer from the oil-rich Qatari royal family described by one art analyst as: "$250 million is a fortune. But you take any art-history course, and a ‘Card Players' is likely in it. It's a major, major image."
 
The sale creates a new record, overtaking the $140 million for a Jackson Pollock painting that sold privately in 2006 to Mexican financier David Martinez.
 
The Card Players is a series of five oil paintings from Cézanne's final period in the early 1890s. Each varies in size and in the number of players depicted. The famous post-impressionist artist also sketched numerous drawings in preparation for The Card Players series.
 
Each painting depicts Provençal peasants immersed in playing card games. The subjects, all male, are displayed as quietly focused on their cards, eyes cast downward, intent on the game at hand. The portraits are notable for their departure from the 17th century style of rowdy, drunken, crowded and action-packed scenes, presenting instead a lack of drama, narrative, and conventional characterisation.
 
Cezanna used local farmhands as models for the paintings, which one art critic described as "human still life".