Greek Shipping Magnate’s Heirs Sell Cézanne Painting to Qatar for $250 Million

(Original Story in Greek By Inga Athanasiadou)

Members of the royal family of Qatar have purchased Cézanne’s painting The Card Players from the heirs of a Greek shipping magnate for more than $250 million. According to ‘Vanity Fair’, the deal sets the highest price ever paid for a work of art.

There are four other Card Players in the series that the initiator of modern art, Cézanne, created in 1890 while he was in southern France.

For years, Greek shipping magnate George Embiricos had owned and treasured the painting, rarely lending it.

Shortly before his death in the winter of 2011, Embiricos began discussions about its sale, which was handled by his estate. Two art dealers—William Acquavella and another, rumored to be Larry Gagosian—offered upward of $220 million for the painting, people close to the matter said. But the royal family of Qatar, without quibbling on price, outbid them, at $250 million, as Vanity Fair reports.

The most paid for a painting at auction is $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.

From now on, the Card Players will be presented at  Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, whose head is the daughter of Qatar’s emir, 28-year-old Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.