We dined in the hotel which was decorated with a lot of knick-knacks, antlers and huge paintings with bad still lives, guinea fowls and hunting-parties. We were the last guests. The cook and the waiter, also the owners, had their dinner in a side room, connected to the dining room. At the end of the meal, I asked if I could buy the painting from our room, because, like I said emotionally, it showed a landscape that reminded me of my childhood. That last point was an adapted version of the without any doubt in my childhood, cherished emotional meaning of the landscape.
To make it easier, I mentioned the evident contrast between the flat Dutch landscape and the French hills. I wanted, having agreed with A. to avoid any appearance that a certain monetary value of the painting should be important, what really mattered was the emotional relationship. They reacted kindly, one seeming to be touched by my story, the other one I didn’t know. I suggested considering the whole thing and to wait until tomorrow morning.
The next morning I waked up at six. A. was still in a deep sleep. The first daylight appeared in the room and my view was directed immediately to what was born in my head as my landscape. An image in which our love, our great time in Italy and my childhood felt together totally harmonious in the hilly flat Dutch landscape.
All of that in thin placed tints and whisks, which evoked a complete world in the just waken up day somewhere in Europe.
After breakfast one of the messieurs went with us to the room. I showed him the painting and after a quick look, he looked at me somewhat compassionately, are there not better paintings in this hotel? This one never attracted his attention before. He remarked that it wasn’t big. He said not to know what should be a fair price. But I was prepared for this obstacle. The night before, A. and I had prepared a proposition, not too much, otherwise the financial value should take most attention, but also not too little, otherwise the emotional value should not be credible. The man agreed on our proposition immediately. Perplexed and excited we drove away a moment later with our dear treasure wrapped in a blanket. We made jokes and speculations that the patron immediately after our departure would phone his friend art painter in the village to paint a few more.
When we where at home we cleaned the painting carefully with pure green soap, to remove the fly droppings and we replaced the ram-shackle frame by a more appropriate new one.