We were in Vancouver a year ago. On the last day as we worked our way out of town, we spied one more gallery, and Kurt was kind enough to stop so I could go in. On the short walk there, he saw a non-descript door with the name “Art Emporium” on it, and stairs leading to an upper story. I was going to pass it by, but Kurt thought we ought to go have a look. Well, what a find! It was chock full of paintings, leaning against one another on the floor, up the stairs and on the walls, and everywhere. This was in contrast to every other gallery, with gleaming glass doors, lots of clean wall space and paintings hung very importantly with a lot of space around them, even though the paintings were sort of mediocre and conceited in a way. Once up the stairs, I started looking through the paintings; almost all were objective and in a variety of styles of the first half of the twentieth century; not my usual cup of tea. The paintings could be touched and flipped through. A woman came from in back and started to wait on us. At that moment I spied a drawing/painting, sort of Picasso like. I asked her about it, and she hustled to the back to get “him.” Well, here came this older gentleman. He fussed over us bit, and started to “educate me.” What I was looking at was a print, one of 50 (#36 I recall) from a painter named Marino, an Italian painter and sculptor (1901 – 1980). Meanwhile, they are looking the painter up on line to give me more info, and I am falling for the print. I am given permission to take a photo of it. I am told the price is $2,500.00 please, American or Canadian funds, my choice. The gentleman, Torben Kristiansen, was a peach. He looked the works up and said it was worth about $4,500.00. He said if my banker wanted to sell me stocks and bonds, all I would get would be a piece of paper, but with art I got something of supreme value. And, he reminded me, there is no recession going on in the art market. He talked about his vast collection; he has been in the gallery business over 50 years. Currently, he told me, he had paintings running from $700.00 to 3 million. Wow, I thought. He pointed out the 3 million dollar painting; by a contemporary of Pollack’s. The painters name is Jean Paul Riopelle. The painting was very big, perhaps more than 6 feet tall, and maybe 7 feet long, very colorful, and busy to the point of being frenetic. He told us the story of moving it from Florida where he had purchased it, and shipping it on a plane bigger than a 747, so there was head room enough so it could fly standing up. I was amused and charmed and I continued to look about the slightly run down place, bulging with paintings. Soon, he said quietly, from behind me, “I have three Andrew Wyeths”. Oh my, but I wheeled around and said “where?!” He laughed. He took Kurt and I into the inner sanctum, pointing out works all the way; first through the back room with virtually every square inch of space hung with paintings, then through the cluttered office where his assistants worked, and then on into his office. I gasped! There were two Emily Carr’s in bright, beautiful shape, leaning against chairs, sitting on the floor and a painting from every person in the Canadian Group of Seven! And other famous works he pointed out (which were not so well know to me, a person who has self taught my own art appreciation class) and there were the three Wyeths. I have a real deep love for Wyeth; his neutral colors, his use of a lot of white space, his capture of the everyday farm life in all the seasons. Torben explained he had had an exhibition of Wyeths there at the gallery years ago; he had been to the studio of Wyeth and knew the artist himself. I stood with my nose nearly on the glass and saw the x marks scraped out of one side of the tree trunk, and painted on the other side. Wow. I would never see that in a photo of the painting. I never asked the price, but I know it was between $700.00 and 3 million! I also saw 2 paintings of a French artist, Alexandre Jacob. I loved those little paintings. Exquisite. What a gift that experience was. Alas, all the paintings and prints are still in the possession of Mr. Torben Kristiansen of the Art Emporium.