“She asked André Castonguay how big his dick was.”
“I did not. I asked how big a dick he was. There’s a difference.”
Despite herself, Clara smirked. She’d often wanted to ask gallery owners the same question.
“And I say they are, and who’s to say who’s right? That’s what drives artists and dealers crazy. It’s so subjective.”
“That’s what makes my job like Christmas every day. While every artist wakes up believing this is the day his genius will be discovered, every dealer wakes up believing this is the day he’ll discover genius.”
“But who’s to say?”
“That’s what makes this all so thrilling.”
Andre Castonguay owned art. But Francois Marois owned the artists. Who was the more powerful? But also the more vulnerable?
Vernissages and art shows aren’t about what’s on the walls, they’re about who’s in the room. That’s the real work. I came to network.
Beauvoir watched Normand and Paulette. They looked exhausted. But from what, the Inspector wondered. The long night of free food and drink? The longer night of desperate networking, disguised as a party? Or just plain tired of swimming so hard but still going under.
“I’m not an artist.” He gave a little laugh. “Sadly, I’m not creative. Like most of my colleagues I dabbled in art as a callow youth and immediately discovered a profound, almost mystical lack of talent. Quite shocking, really.”
My paintings may not have been brilliant, but I was just starting, doing my best. And she dug her heels into them and ground. It was more than just humiliating. I might’ve recovered from that, it was that she convinced even me that I had no talent. She killed the best part of me.”
Beauvoir turned his back on the smiling artists. “I told them I was the art critic for Le Monde.” “And why would you do that?” the Chief Inspector asked. “It’s a long story,” said Beauvoir. But it wasn’t so much long as embarrassing.
“But of course. Just Monsieur Beauvoir. I find no need for a first name. Too bourgeois. Clutters up the page. You read my reviews, bien sur?”
The rest of the evening had been quite pleasant, as word spread that the famous Parisian critic “Monsieur Beauvoir” was there. And all agreed that Clara’s works were a marvelous example of chiaroscuro. He’d have to look it up, one of these days.
“I love that an artist could be plucked out of obscurity and discovered at the age of almost fifty. What artist doesn’t dream of it? What artist doesn’t believe, every morning, it will happen before bedtime? Remember Magritte? Belgian painter?” “Ceci n’est pas une pipe?” asked Gamache, losing Beauvoir completely. He hoped the Chief hadn’t just had a seizure and started spouting nonsense.