Qatar pays highest price ever for artwork, Paul Cézanne’s “Card Players”


Oil-rich Qatar has bought Paul Cézanne's painting "The Card Players" for more than $250 million, by far the highest price ever paid for a work of art.

Previously, a Jackson Pollock — "No. 5, 1948" — held the record, sold for $140 million in pre-recessionary 2006.

Vanity Fair points out that only four other versions of "Card Player" exist — Cezanne painted them as a series in the 1890s. They are all housed in world-class museums, including the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

"The purchase is just the latest bid in Qatar’s effort to become an international intellectual hub," the magazine wrote, adding that it "upends the modern art market."

According to the Gulf Times, Qatar has the third highest density of millionaires in the world after Singapore and Switzerland.

The sale took place in 2011 and was confirmed to the magazine by multiple sources this week. Qatar's royal family declined to comment and all other players involved in the sale signed confidentiality agreements.

The one bought by Qatar is one of three that shows two men at a table playing cards.

"$250 million is a fortune," Victor Wiener, a fine-art appraiser told Vanity Fair. "But you take any art-history course, and a 'Card Players' is likely in it. It's a major, major image."

Cézanne inspired Cubism and helped pioneer abstract art, and him Picasso called him "the father of us all."

It is estimated that murals painted at Facebook's offices in 2005 by graffiti artist David Choe will be worth some $200 million after the social-network giant goes public. 

(GlobalPost reports: David Choe, Facebook graffiti artist, strikes it rich from IPO

Choe was reportedly given Facebook stock options for his work, which will likely make him one of the world's highest paid artists.

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