Sunday, September 26, 2010

When paintings are worth the price of music: Sam Salz and Vladimir Horowitz.

When I was growing up in our home with my father the art dealer Sam Salz, there was a special small room in the back of the house for playing cards. Many of my father's customers would come and play gin rummy or bridge there. Aside from a card table, the room had a small bar while the walls were lined with photos of the actor Edward G. Robinson, the writer Erich Maria Remarque and other personalities my father knew. Two of the visitors and card players that would come there were the virtuoso pianist Vladimir Horowitz and the choreographer George Balanchine. Horowitz wanted to buy two Impressionist paintings from my father but he could not meet my father's asking price. He also had been losing at bridge so my father decided to make a deal with him: Horowitz could give a free concert for my parents at his apartment and he then could buy the paintings for his lower price. Both my father and mother later went to Horowitz's place and he played for them a concert of Ravel and Debussy. Horowitz ended up with the paintings.

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