Rocking back in his metal office chair, staring at the bombs overhead, McDowell relates a scene he remembers in some film where Picasso takes the artist Modigliani out to meet Renoir. Picasso and Modigliani lived in meager accommodations in Montmarte, while Renoir lived in a villa with 28 rooms, maids, butlers and a garden. Picasso was trying to show Modigliani that you didn’t have to live like a pauper to be an artist, that you could create and still have whatever you want. McDowell explains, “Modigliani asks Renoir, ‘How are you able to afford all of these things?’ Renoir answers, ‘I traded it for two paintings.’?”
What did Modigliani do? He stole a bottle of wine and climbed over the wall.