That next morning: Shaft of golden sunlight spilling through the skylight. Dust motes danced like a Brownian movement toward madness. I remembered painting Ambette, but could only see the backside of my easel from the bed. I got up, arched my back and stretched, then made a bowl of coffee before padding over to the still wet canvas, wondering what I’d ended up with.
I was stunned. It was a masterpiece. Most of my work was good, much of it great, but this . . . A gift from heaven sure to find a haloed place inside Musée du Louvre. I named the work, Ambette’s Amnesia, and it soon became a major topic of discussion in the most influential artistic soirées.
“Blotches of color that fascinate and hold the eye like a Swedish garter belt,” Degas commented in Le Figaro. “Buckmister’s broken colors and loose brushwork reflect the transitory nature of this image.”
One week later things went sideways.