If there was any question about who has the most money to throw around in the art world, we can now firmly say that the answer is the royal family of Qatar. Vanity Fair reported Thursday that they privately purchased Paul Cezanne’s “The Card Players” (1895) from the estate of late Greek shipping magnate George Embiricos for an astronomical $250 million in 2011, which as far as anyone knows (few private sales get reported) is the highest price ever paid for a single work of art. According to VF, both Larry Gagosian and Acquavella Gallery were in the running for the painting, and may have offered up to $220 million for it.
The last few years has shown the ruling clan of the small Arab state are on a long-term shopping spree for the world’s most expensive art to fill up their new museums, including the Arab Museum of Modern Art and the Qatar National Museum. The family is known for brokering back-room private sales, although they sometimes do buy at auction. They are also linked to some of the world’s biggest dealers. VF reports that this particular sale was brokered by several art-world names like Philippe Ségalot, Lionel Pissarro, and Guy Bennett. For more on this story, stay tuned to ARTINFO throughout the day.
UPDATE: Check out everything you need to know about the Qataris and their art collecting habits on ARTINFO.
— Shane Ferro