A rare watercolour study by Paul Cezanne believed lost for nearly 60 years fetched over $19 million at a New York City auction.
Christie’s auction house says A Card Player sold on Tuesday night to a buyer who wished to remain anonymous. The price includes the buyer’s premium.
The watercolour was a study for Cezanne’s celebrated series of oil paintings titled Card Players. It was rediscovered this year in the collection of the late Dr. Heinz Eichenwald, a well-known collector from Dallas, Texas.
It shows a man in a hat and jacket seated at a table. Rendered in hues of blue and ochre, it was previously known to scholars only from a black-and-white photograph.
The French post-impressionist artist created the five-painting Card Players series between 1890 and 1896.
The preparatory 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.
Christie’s said Eichenwald inherited the work from his father. Its presale estimate was $15 million to $20 million.
The Courtauld Gallery in London exhibited the five-painting series in 2010; the exhibition travelled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art last year.