Summary: The story of the Portrait
Whoever Takes the Son Gets It All
Years ago, a very wealthy man shared with his devoted young son a passion for art collecting.
Together they travelled the world, adding only the finest art treasures to their collection.
Priceless works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and many others adorned the walls of the family estate.
The widowed father looked on with satisfaction as his only Son became an experienced art collector.
The son’s trained eye and sharp business mind caused his father great pride as they dealt with art collectors around the world.
In 1914 as winter approached, war engulfed the
nation, and the young man was called up to serve his country.
After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram that he had been dreading.
His beloved son had been killed in action, saving the life of a friend.
Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness.
The joy of the Christmas season, that he and his son had so looked forward to, was gone.
On Christmas morning, there was a knock at the door.
As the old man opened the door, he was greeted by a young soldier with a large package in his hand on leave from the Western front.
He introduced himself to the man by saying,
"I was a friend of your son. I was the one he
was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you."
And as the two began to talk, the soldier told the old man how his son often talked about his father’s love of art.
"I’m an artist," said the soldier, "and I want to give you this."
And as the old man unwrapped the package, he saw that it was a portrait of his son.
Although the world would never consider it the work of a genius - the painting showed the face of the old man’s son in detail.
Overcome with emotion, the father hung the portrait of his son over the fireplace, moving aside millions of dollars worth of art to make space for it
The old man then sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given.
The painting of his son soon became his most
prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces of art for which museums around the world clamoured.
Ten years later, the old man died and the art world waited with anticipation for the upcoming auction.
According to the father’s will, all the art works were to be auctioned on Christmas Day, the day he had received the greatest gift.
The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings.
The auction began with a painting that was not on anyone’s list.
It was the painting of the father’s son by the young soldier.
The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent.
“Who will open the bidding with £100?” No one spoke.
Finally someone said, “Who cares about that painting. It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s move on to the good stuff.”
The auctioneer responded, “No, we have to sell this one first. Now, who will bid for the son?”
Finally, a neighbour of the old man offered £50. “That’s all I have. I knew the boy, so I’d like to have it.”