Tuesday, February 7, 2012
According to sources, the transaction took place in 2011, but only last week it was revealed that the royal family of Qatar acquired Cézanne's painting "The Card Players" for the sum of €190 million (£158 million, $250 million), setting a new world record for a work of art in both auction and direct sales, beating the previous record of €106.4 million (£88.7 million, $141 million) paid for Jackson Pollock’s “No 5, 1948” sold by David Geffen in 2006. The highest at auction belong to "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" by Pablo Picasso sold at Christie's, New York, for $106,4 million ($95 million without commissions and taxes) in 2011 to an anonymous buyer.
"The Card Players" had been in the hands of the Greek shipping magnate George Embiricos, who shortly before his death last winter, began manifesting his desire to sell it.
During the last decades he had received several generous offers, but only close to his death the painting would be finally sold to the highest bidder, the royal family of Qatar.
It has been rumored that art dealers Larry Gagosian and William Acquavella offered upward of $220 million for the painting.
With the recent purchases of Mark Rothko’s “White Center (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose)” and Damien Hirst’s pill cabinet “Lullaby Spring,” Qatar is demonstrating its power to become one of the leading cultural centers in the world.
The name of Qatari king's daughter Sheikha Al Mayassa has been citted as having an important role in this subject.
A list of the most expensive paintings can be found here.