Art: Payment Deferred

The art collector from Chicago was glad that he visited the Middletown, N.Y. asylum that day in 1916. It was a privilege to talk with Artist Ralph Albert Blakelock, whose moonlit lakes and forests were bringing up to $20,000 apiece. And the painter seemed perfectly all right, too—at least, until the moment when he drew what looked like a roll of bills from his pocket and gave three to his visitor. "Take this back to Chicago," Blakelock soberly advised him. "Don't spend it, but live off the interest." The bills turned out to be three little green landscapes, which Blakelock had...

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