Monday, August 02, 2010
Late Bloomers and Those Who Love Them
In Malcolm Gladwell's chapter on Late Bloomers, you'll find touching stories of talented late bloomers and the friends and family who did patiently supported and guided them through the years. At right, Ambrose Vollard, who sat 150 times from 8am until 11:30 without stop for Cezanne, although the end product was still thrown away by the artist in disgust. Vollard believed in Cezanne; and eventually he took it upon himself to collect every painting of his he could, sponsoring Cezanne's first one-man show at the age of 56.
From another paternal patron, Emile Zola:
"I’ll reckon out for you what you should spend. A room at 20 francs a month; lunch at 18 sous and dinner at 22, which makes two francs a day, or 60 francs a month. . . . Then you have the studio to pay for: the Atelier Suisse, one of the least expensive, charges, I think, 10 francs. Add 10 francs for canvas, brushes, colors; that makes 100. So you’ll have 25 francs left for laundry, light, the thousand little needs that turn up. "
Gladwell ends "Late bloomers’ stories are invariably love stories, and this may be why we have such difficulty with them. We’d like to think that mundane matters like loyalty, steadfastness, and the willingness to keep writing checks to support what looks like failure have nothing to do with something as rarefied as genius.But sometimes genius is anything but rarefied; sometimes it’s just the thing that emerges after twenty years of working at your kitchen table."