In Masters Gallery, players are art critics and gallery owners at the same time, trying to pump up the value of certain artists before cashing in their works. The works of five artists – Vermeer, Degas, Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh – are in play. Each player starts with a hand of masterpiece cards, and on a turn you play one on the table to show a stake in the fate of that artist; some masterpiece cards include special actions that allow you to play a second card, draw an extra card, increase the value of a certain artist, or have everyone play a masterpiece card at once.
When a certain number of works from one artist are on the table, the round ends, and each work from the most well-represented artists are sold for $1-3. Masters Gallerylasts four rounds, with players receiving additional masterpiece cards prior to new rounds and the value of an artist's work increasing based on past performance. The player with the most money after four rounds wins.
Masters Gallery depicts classic works of art on its cards; Modern Art: The Card Game, which features identical game play, uses "modern art" along the lines used in designer Reiner Knizia's Modern Art board game.