Some works of art are notable as much for their history as for their expertise — this painting of the Card Players series is one of those works. Painted with incredible technique and with an intriguing, chequered past, this work has definitely made its mark. “As part of Sotheby’s Most Famous Artworks in the World series, this episode of Anatomy of an Artwork explores Paul Cézanne’s masterpiece The Card Players (1894-95), now housed in the Musee d’Orsay, Paris,” the video explains. “The smallest, but perhaps most significant of the Card Players series, this painting exemplifies Cézanne’s ability to transform the ordinary into the profound. The light application of paint, autumnal color palette and symmetrical composition coalesce in a triumph of tranquil simplicity. It has long been celebrated in France, and in 1961 was stolen in a midnight heist from the Pavillon Vendôme museum, only to be found in an abandoned car after payment of a ransom.”
You can see behind the painting — both in terms of its exquisite technique and its history — in the video from Sotheby’s here:
This particular painting of The Card Players has so much to see — the technique, the subjects, the atmosphere. But, in the case of this work, the story behind it is just as intriguing as the work itself.