'A Card Player' by Paul Cezanne

'A Card Player' by Paul Cezanne

Rare Cezanne Work Discovered in Private Collection

A rare watercolor by Paul Cezanne, which had not been seen in public for decades, sold for a stunning 19.12 million, which is an amazing price for a work on paper.

The work sold at auction at Christie’s and had received very ambitious estimates of expected price at $15 to $20 million. The buyer preferred to remain anonymous.

The particular watercolor, Cezanne’s “Joueur de Carte” which was painted somewhere between 1892 and 1896, depicts a card player, who appears in three of the five paintings titled “Les Joueur de Cartes” It appears to be the most similar to the version which hangs in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, which is considered to be the most accomplished of the seminal Card Players series.

The Courtauld Gallery in London exhibited the five-painting series in 2010; the exhibition traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art last year.

The preparatory watercolor study offers a rare glimpse into Cezanne’s creative process. The figure in the painting is that of Paulin Paulet, a gardener on Cezanne’s estate near Aix en Provence, France. It was last displayed at a New York gallery in 1953.

So where had this watercolor been for decades?

It was discovered by Christie’s Auction House when they were working with the estate of Dr. Heinz Eichenwald, who died in September, at age 85, at his Dallas, Texas home.

The late 19th-century work on paper is one of Cezanne’s preparatory studies for his seminal Card Players series of five paintings, ‘Joueurs des Cartes.’ Its whereabouts had been unknown for decades until it re-emerged from the collection of a doctor in Texas. The auction house found the drawing when it was working with the estate of Dr. Heinz Eichenwald, who died at his Dallas, U.S., home in September at the age of 85.

Paul Cézanne, c. 1861

Paul Cézanne, c. 1861

For nearly six decades this watercolor, depicting Paulin Paulet, a gardener on Cézanne’s family estate near Aix-en-Provence, France, was familiar to scholars only as a black-and-white photograph. No one knew if the actual work, a study for Cézanne’s celebrated Card Players paintings, still existed and if it did, who owned it.

About The Collector 

It is thought Eichenwald’s parents brought the drawing with them to the U.S. when they fled the Nazi occupation of Europe. The deceased doctor was a keen art enthusiast and collector, and it is expected there will be many more items to feature in the Christie’s sales.

Eichenwald is said to have ‘transformed medical care for children across north Texas and around the world for more than 40 years,’ according to The Dallas Morning News.



Watch the video below to see inside the Christie’s Auction for the Cezanne watercolor. 

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