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Rare Cezanne Watercolor Study Coming To Christie's Auction In May (PHOTOS)

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A rare watercolor study by the French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne will be auctioned at Christie's in New York soon. For over sixty years, the piece was thought to be lost, but was recently discovered in the home of a prominent Texas collector after he died. The piece is expected to sell for up to $20 million on May 1st as part of the auction house's "Impressionist and Modern Art Evening Sale", and is a study for "Card Players," one of Cezanne's best-known series, which was painted in the late 1800s. Vanity Fair reported in February that a single painting from the series sold earlier this year for over $250 million to anonymous collectors in Qatar.

In 2010, the five-painting series was exhibited in a traveling show by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Courtauld Gallery in London; the Guardian called it "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." The sketch up for auction this May was previously known from a black-and-white photograph, so this colorful discovery is sure to pique the interest of collectors.

The previous record paid for a single painting was in 2005; the New York Times reported that David Geffen sold Jackson Pollock's famous "5" painting for about $140 million to David Martinez, a prominent private art collector. Prior to that, the record was $135 million for Gustav Klimt’s “Adele Bloch-Bauer I," which was purchased by Ronald S. Lauder earlier that same year, who then donated it to the Neue Gallery in New York.

Coming up: on May 2nd, an 1895 version of “The Scream” by the painter Edvard Munch is up for sale at Sotheby’s and is expected to fetch a respectable $80 million.

Check out a roundup of pricey art sales in the slideshow below.

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