Card Players by Paul Cézanne—Most Expensive Painting Ever Sold!

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The exact price of The Card Players (even the currency of sale) is not known, with estimates from $259 million to even $320 million.

French master Paul Cézanne’s works have been credited with bridging the gap between 19th century Impressionism and 20th century Cubism. But his finest accomplishment might well beThe Card Players, which continues to fascinate art lovers and set records. The Card Players is a series of oil paintings and there are five paintings in the series. Keep in mind that the Royal Family of Qatar didn’t buy the series – they bought just that one painting for $300 million.

The oil painting, depicts a pair of Aix-en-Provence farmhands engaged in a game of cards; the men look down at their cards rather than at each other, with the cards being perhaps their sole means of communication outside of work. One critic described the scenes as human still life, while another speculated that the men’s intense focus on their game mirrors that of the painter’s absorption in his art. Qatar’s acquisition of the Card Players puts the country’s art stash in a respectable position.

This painting was sold in 2011 with a record-breaking sum. However, since the sale between Embiricos and the Qatari royals was a private deal, the exact price paid for The Card Players is unknown. It is said to be worth as high as $320 million. The  uncertainty of it’s price makes it hard to tell if it’s value has been beaten or not.

So why is this painting of two gambling men so expensive? Well, first, it was painted by Cézanne. If  you didn’t know,  he was “the father of us all” to Picasso and a dear leader to Matisse (“If Cézanne is right, then I am right”). Also, the painting has an air of mystery to it brought about by the fact that it is one of the  few masterpieces that are rarely seen.

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