Continuing last year’s string of brilliant acquisitions, the Kimbell Art Museum has purchased a 17th-century French painting, Georges de La Tour’s Cheat with the Ace of Clubs.
Negotiations for the painting began under the Kimbell’s late director, Ric Brown, in 1977, but were delayed because a prominent English art historian suspected that it was a fake. Questions about the costumes in the painting were cleared up with scientific analysis and expert consultation, and Kimbell director Ted Pillsbury urged his board to go ahead.
The painting depicts a naive young man being gulled by wine, women and a card-sharp who holds the ace of clubs behind his back. Scholars suspect their game is whist, which is similar to bridge.
The only disappointing thing about the acquisition is that the painting was on display for only a week in January before going on tour in Paris and New York. It will come home to Fort Worth in August.
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