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Paul Cezanne Auction: Rare Watercolor Study Fetches Over $19 Million At Auction

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PAUL CEZANNE PAINTING
This undated picture provided by Christie’s shows a rare watercolor study by French artist Paul Cezanne believed lost and last seen in 1953. It will be sold at auction May 1, 2012, by Christie's in New York, where it’s expected to bring up to $20 million. The watercolor is one of Cezanne’s studies for “Card Players,” a five-painting series created between 1890 and 1896. (AP Photo/Christie's) | AP

NEW YORK — A rare watercolor study by Paul Cezanne believed lost for nearly 60 years fetched over $19 million at a New York City auction on Tuesday.

Christie's auction house said "A Card Player" sold to a buyer who wished to remain anonymous. The price included the buyer's premium.

The watercolor 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 traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art last year.

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Online: www.christies.com

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