Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Rediscovered Cezanne "Card Players" sketch set to sell for millions

By Bryony Jones, CNN
updated 11:02 AM EDT, Fri March 30, 2012
A study for Paul Cezanne's master work "The Card Players," missing for decades, has been rediscovered among the paintings of a Texas art collector, and will be sold at auction later this year.
A study for Paul Cezanne's master work "The Card Players," missing for decades, has been rediscovered among the paintings of a Texas art collector, and will be sold at auction later this year.
HIDE CAPTION
Cezanne's 'Card Players' study found
Cezanne's 'Card Players' study found
Cezanne's 'Card Players' study found
<<
<
1
2
3
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Study for Paul Cezanne's "The Card Players" found among Texas art collector's paintings
  • Sketch was only known through an old photograph; not seen since 1953, feared lost
  • Finished paintings in the series now hang in some of the world's best-known galleries
  • Experts say the study is likely to sell for $15 to $20 million at auction on May 1

London (CNN) -- A study for Paul Cezanne's master work "The Card Players," missing for decades, has been rediscovered among the paintings of a Texas art collector, and looks set to sell for more than $15 million when it goes under the hammer later this year.

The watercolor, one of the preparatory sketches for Cezanne's five painting series, was only known from a black and white photograph, having last been seen in public in 1953, and was presumed lost.

But the immaculately preserved work was found earlier this year in the collection of Texas medical expert and art collector Dr. Heinz F. Eichenwald, and will be sold at Christie's in New York on May 1.

The auction house predicts a great deal of interest from collectors in the piece, which is expected to fetch between $15 and $20 million.

"For a full-size study from this series to come to light now, when it was feared to have been lost to history by scholars and collectors alike, marks a pivotal moment in the art market," said Sharon Kim, international director of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie's.

The figure in the image has been identified by Cezanne scholars as Paulin Paulet, a gardener on the painter's family estate, the Jas de Bouffan, near Aix en Provence in the south of France.

The "Card Player" series is one of the most important of the modern era, influencing so many painters
Sharon Kim

Paulet is the only person to appear in all five of the finished "Card Players" works, which were the subject of a major exhibition at London's Courtauld Institute and at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last year.

The watercolor study was originally bought by Eichenwald's parents, who brought it with them to the United States when the family fled the Nazi occupation of Europe in the 1930s and settled in New York.

Eichenwald, who trained as a pediatrician in the U.S. and went on to become a renowned specialist, died last September at the age of 85. He was a keen art collector, and several of his other paintings and sculptures will feature in Christie's New York sales on May 1 and 2.

"The 'Card Player' series is one of the most important of the modern era, influencing so many of the painters who sought to follow in Cezanne's footsteps," said Kim.

"[It] offers us a rare glimpse into [his] artistic process, showing us how he worked through the pose and positioning of the characters that would come to populate his greatest masterpieces."

Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) was one of the most influential Post-Impressionist painters; a childhood friend of the novelist Emile Zola and a contemporary of Manet, Monet, Renoir and Degas. His works were a major influence on the development of Cubism: Picasso referred to him as "the father of us all."

"A Card Player" by Paul Cezanne, will be the star lot of a sale of Impressionist and Modern Art at Christie's in New York on May 1, 2012.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:05 AM EDT, Fri March 30, 2012
Viewing Bruegel's The Way to Calvary, director Lech Majewski says, is like watching a film unfold -- so he's brought the work to the big screen.
updated 11:02 AM EDT, Fri March 30, 2012
Detail from
A study for Paul Cezanne's master work "The Card Players," missing for decades, has been rediscovered in a Texas art collection.
updated 7:24 AM EDT, Fri March 23, 2012
A painting dismissed for years as the work of an unknown artist has been identified as a piece by Vincent Van Gogh, after x-ray tests.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Wed March 14, 2012
A Leonardo da Vinci mural unseen since the 16th century may have been found hidden behind a Florentine fresco painted by another artist.
updated 8:49 AM EDT, Mon March 12, 2012
The American wing at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art re-opens to the public following a decade-long renovation program.
updated 6:31 AM EST, Fri March 2, 2012
The world-famous Ghent Altarpiece, completed in 1432, can now be viewed on a specially-designed, open source website.
updated 8:41 PM EST, Thu February 23, 2012
With its palaces, sculpted parks, concert halls and museums, Vienna is a city steeped in culture. Take a tour with CNN World's Treasures.
updated 8:48 AM EST, Thu February 23, 2012
Edvard Munch's The Scream (1895), which is to be sold at Sotheby's in New York on May 2, 2012.
One of the world's most iconic works of art will go under the hammer in May, and could sell for tens of millions of dollars at auction in New York.
updated 1:39 PM EST, Thu February 16, 2012
Heavy snow has already wreaked havoc across Europe, now it is damaging some of its most recognized historic monuments.
updated 12:34 PM EST, Mon February 13, 2012
Join World's Treasures for a tour through Charles Dickens' London to celebrate the bicentenary of the celebrated British author's birth.
ADVERTISEMENT