People in coats and ties were milling around the Talley gallery, and on the wall were the minimally rendered still lifes by Giorgio Morandi, most of them no bigger than a tea tray. Their thin browns, ashy grays, and muted blues made people speak softly to one another, as if a shouted word might curdle one of the paintings and ruin it. Bottles, carafes, and ceramic whatnots sat in his paintings like small animals huddling for warmth, and these shy pictures could easily hang next to a Picasso or Matisse without feeling inferior.

We artists are indestructible; even in a prison, or in a concentration camp, I would be almighty in my own world of art, even if I had to paint my pictures with my wet tongue on the dusty floor of my cell.