We have a client, she's not that old, in her early 60's and has slowly degenerated with MS over the past 8 years that I've known about her. Mid last year, it was clear that her income was not sufficient to permit the 24 hour care she needs at home and she would have to either be looked after by one of her three, wealthy, healthy children or move into nursing home care. No 'serious' offers were forthcoming from the kids so her financial adviser helped her arrange suitable accommodation in a nice nursing home (oxymoron maybe but I believe it is actually quite nice).
She moved into care.
The family had the job of dispensing with her worldly goods and retaining the few things she could accommodate in her new digs so everything was auctioned off. Among the belongings and despite one of her long term carer's requests to own it should this particular client not want it, was a painting. Not a famous painting, not painted by a famous person - and whilst I haven't seen it, not a particularly talented painting but one painted by her father. It was auctioned off for $1.
Once this client realised that her beloved painting was no longer hers, she asked her children could it be recovered, she'd pay $50 for it or whatever the purchaser wanted because it gave her comfort and it could be hung in her little room. The children were ambivalent but one of her past carers had the gumption to contact her financial adviser with whom this particular client has built a very close relationship and a plan to retrieve the painting was devised.
The adviser, has been trying so hard to recover this gem until finally, last week, all was arranged. The client's daughter would drive over and pick up the painting, pay what was required and return it to her deeply incapacitated mother. The purchaser rang the Adviser at about 3pm and announced that she she'd had a party the night before and was now not prepared to part with it. End of phone call. .we suspect someone 'whispered in her ear' and suggested it might be worth something.
Who . . who in their right mind, buys a painting by a totally unknown amateur painter and refuses to sell it back to the original owner, a severely disabled one at that, knowing fully that it's sale was a mistake, that it means something, that it has sentimental value . . .
There's a man in America who made a documentary and acquired Mahatma Gandhi's glasses, sandals and a small plate and bronze bowl . . he won't give them back to Gandhi's grandson . . .he's auctioning them and so the grandson is organising a fundraiser to try to buy these iconic items back. It seams very mean spirited to me, then if he gave them back the precedent for British and other imperial acquisitions might be overwhelming . . .
In our lovely client's case . . .We're not talking third world survival here or the Elgin marbles, just an incapacitated lady who would like her painting back.
People can be so unkind. And yes, I'm beginning to think that nice guys finish last!