Tares or wheat? – The most expensive painting in the world
Traslated by Mara
Edvard Nordman, a retired Swedish sailor, became a shop assistant in a town on a tropical island after touring the world. At age 55, Ed thought it was time to move away. He longed for silence and solitude. For a spa-cious, secluded, cheap house. Luckily, there lived a restless painter, with whom the local girls no longer slept. The painter had previously lived also with two 13-year-old indigenous girls, as they said there: two vahines. But the painter’s legs were so purulent that there was no longer such a poor girl nearby who would have gone to his bed. Therefore, he wanted to get to a more untouched island, as he said, in order to paint the archipelago in its more unspoiled state. In fact, he hoped to find a vahine for himself in a more backward place. And he decided to sell his house. His haste is indicated by the fact that Ed was able to beat down the low price of 5,000 francs to 4,500.
The painter paid off his debts and boarded the first ship. He didn’t even bother to clear the house. Ed stood indignantly in the middle of the mess, but what could he have done? The painter was already far away. Since he didn’t feel like disposing the garbage, he asked his son, Oscar, to liquidate the manure heap.
The next day, Oscar scurried to the house, which was full of rolled can-vas, abandoned paintings and carvings. As the locals have thought so many times, Oscar also found that cannot be a good painter who paints a yellow sky. Only a few carvings seemed usable — he carried everything else out and set on fire the trash with easiness and a sigh of relief.
A completely different sigh broke out of him decades later when he read that images of a sick painter were being sold for millions in Paris. He was relieved: “How good that my father didn’t live to see that!” But whenever he remembered the painter, a wry smile sat on his face, as if even he himself did not believe that the bonfire he made from Gauguin’s legacy, that manure heap had reached up to his chest in August 1901.
(The most expensive painting of all time is also one of Gauguin’s, selling for no less than 300 million dollars – approximately 75 billion forint – in 2015.)