A small crowd of people milled around the featured painting speaking in hushed tones and casting furtive glances over the shoulders of competing bidders in attempts to read scribbled notes in auction catalogs.
The artist, a virtual unknown a year ago, was considered a modern master with his canvases fetching record bids. His posthumous popularity was making his widow very rich. She claimed to have a studio filled with finished and nearly finished paintings that she intended to mete out sparingly so not to flood the market and drive prices down. Releasing only two or three a year meant she would have enough oils and acrylics to last well into her dotage.
The auction was about to start. Bidders’ credentials were authenticated and bank account balances verified. Each offered painting came with a detailed provenance for appraisal purposes and on the off-chance it was ever resold.
An electrified quiet fell over the crowd as the auctioneer took his position at the podium. Standing in the back of the gallery, dressed and veiled in black lace and organdy, the widow waited lustfully for the money to rain down on her, the anticipation of a record nearly orgasmic.
As bids echoed around the hall, the widow inventoried those gathered noting men of high finance, foreign dignitaries, and domestic moguls. She saw him in the opposite corner from where she stood, his bidding paddle held loosely by his side. He turned towards her, his hazel eyes locking with hers. A flirtatious smirk tugged at the corner of his crimson mouth as he raised his arm in response to the auctioneer’s call for a new bid.
She wanted him and wanted to capture his beauty. With each new bid, she felt her desire for him grow. Each time he brought his paddle down, he hit it against his thigh. Gasping with every slap, she imagined it coming down on her. When he won the auction, she nearly cried out with pleasure.
When he broke his gaze to sign the ownership papers, she took the opportunity to leave unnoticed. She went looking for the auction house director to find out who her mysterious buyer was. She would lure him to her studio with the promise of more artwork.
After her husband’s unexpected death, she shuttered his studio. No one knew how many paintings he had stored in there. They also didn’t know that his wife was the actual artist, nor did they know the secret element in her pigments that gave each canvas its vibrant colors.
“Just imagine the shades of gold and green, he’ll make magnificent pigment,” she thought as she finished with the man from the auction.