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14. The Painting is offered for private sale

Paul Cézanne was an artist who inspired Cubism and presaged abstract art; he was one whom Picasso called “the father of us all.”  Ever since his “discovery” only a few years prior to his death in 1906, his paintings have skyrocketed in price.  As one critic wrote even in 1908, “the prices of his works have mounted uninterruptedly, until with the advent of an American multimillionaire, they soared almost hopelessly out of the reach of people, often of modest means, who were the first to buy his works.”1

In 1895 the average price Vollard paid for one of Cézanne’s paintings was 150 francs, then about $28.50, which in today’s currency had the equivalent value of about $1000. By 1905, Vollard was selling some of his Cézannes for ten times what he had originally paid for them. Twenty years later in 1925, the American industrialist Albert C. Barnes would pay the equivalent of about $212,500 for one Cézanne.2

Almost a century later,  one of the five versions of Cézanne’s The Card Players was sold in 2011 to the Royal Family of Qatar for a price variously estimated at between $250 million ($301.1 million today) and possibly as high as $300 million ($361.4 million today), either price signifying a new mark for highest price paid for a painting up to that date.3

For a list of the most recent prices paid for works by Cézanne, the reader may consult the Christie’s website:

The Nantucket painting is presently for sale.  Based on prices in the Christie’s list, the owners have established what they consider to be a modest price for it – considering its importance as a preliminary study for FWN 119 and compared with works of similar size and medium.  The price is available on request.

Serious potential buyers may communicate with us here on this site; they are welcome to come to view the picture (which is in a location just outside Boston) and to bring with them any art historian(s) or forensic scientist(s) of their choice to examine the picture and to assure themselves that it is as we have represented it.  The painting, for cleaning, has been removed from its original frame and is pictured below as it would appear in a new frame (fig. 42), which we leave to the new owner to select.  Naturally we have preserved the original frame in its original condition.

Fig. 42. The Nantucket painting as imagined in a new frame.

1 John Rewald, Cézanne and America: Dealers, Collectors, Artists, and Critics: 1891-1921. Princeton: 1989, p. 121.
2 See Rewald 1989, Chapter XII.