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My cousin George has been an art dealer in London for more than 27 years and he often tells me some interesting stories connected with art. Once he mentioned to me a friend of his who had been in the same line of business in Paris. John had an art shop and never lost a chance to buy some interesting still life or a portrait. He had a great collection of paintings and many of his friends admired his pictures when they visited his place.

His wife, however, didn't have any taste at all and it was she who ruined his friend's favourite picture. As he later told George, he put the picture in the window and wanted people to see it and feel happy.

One day a little bell on their front door jingled and a stranger walked in. He wanted to buy the still life which he had seen in the window. His wife, a little woman with a hard, thin face and bitter eyes, quickly rose from the chair, pushed her husband out of the way and hurried to the customer. The man asked if the picture was for sale and the woman answered that it certainly was and promised to sell it cheap. Swallowing hard, she named the price - one hundred francs. When the man explained that it was too expensive, that he couldn't afford it and that he was prepared to spend about 25 francs, she quickly interrupted him. The canvas was immediately taken out of the window and put before the customer. John's wife suggested cutting the picture into four pieces and each would cost twenty-five francs. It would be fair, she added. Hardly had poor John had time to say anything, when his wife took a pair of scissors and cut the masterpiece full length.


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