What about "If"?

Posted by Kitara Julian On 10:37 AM

After reading the July 21 post in which we mentioned the great French artist, Paul Gauguin, someone asked if I could comment on Gauguin’s leaving his wife and children “to go out and paint”. What is one going to say?
If Paul Gauguin had not left his wife Mette and family (he was a successful stockbroker and Sunday painter), the world would never have heard of Gauguin. No artwork, no place amongst the French Masters. No meeting with Vincent van Gogh, or putting the life and culture of French Polynesia on the map.
This brings back memories of when I was a young boy (about 75 years ago). From school we all had a mini-blackboard to scribble on with chalk, and a real sponge to clean it.
My grandfather was a master diamond cleaver and also a diamond facetter, and a wise man. He asked me to put some zeros on the blackboard, turning it sideways so I could fit in lots of them, resulting in those egg-like, half O’s we make at such an age.
Now, my boy, what number is that? I mumbled “I don’t know, Opa, we have not learned that yet”. Then grandfather asked, “Now, put the number “1” in front of all those zeroes. What is the number now, my boy?” I whispered, “Don’t know, Opa. Is it a big number?
Yes, it is”, he replied, “very big! You see, Henri, composers (he loved music) and all the great artists are represented by that lonely number One.
There you have it. Just by placing that number one in front of all those zeroes, it becomes a huge figure - - representing the Human Family which in turn benefits from the ‘lonely ones’ for evermore.
If Paul Gauguin would have never left his family . . . ? We know the answer. Signing off, Henri

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