An October 2007 Press Preview attracted over 300 guests to the ICB Building. After a delicious wine and food reception surrounded by an exhibition of over 30 artists' work, the guests moved upstairs to visit the individual studios of participating artists.
On the third floor Elaine Gentile was circulating among visitors to her 500 sq ft studio. Each bright white wall was hung with a different group of paintings: abstracts, figures, landscapes and still life paintings.
Among her guests was the owner of Savoir-Faire, a Novato distributor of Sennelier art materials, whom she had known for a long time. He looked around and commented to her on the fact that she did so many different kinds of paintings.
"Well," she replied. "These reflect the different parts of my life. I grew up on a farm, so I paint landscapes. And I own houses so I paint still lifes. And I used to be a therapist so maybe that's why I paint all these people."
At that he interrupted her excitedly. "I was a therapist too before I got in the paint business. I studied everything there was to know about Freud. I eat, lived and breathed Freud for twenty years."
"Really? You know what? I visited Freud's house in London and I saw his couch. Did you ever see his couch?" Elaine asked. Now Pierre and some other people had been sitting on the ratty old couch in Elaine's studio. "Why that's fantastic. No, I never thought to go there." "Well you should go one day," she said. But Elaine was getting a little tired of this conversation. She wanted the guy to buy a painting.
After a brief interruption, Pierre, rising from the ratty old couch that he had been sitting on, said: "Tell me about the couch."
Oh heck, thought Elaine. If I can't sell him a painting, I might as well sell him the couch. "Well," she started. "It's a little beat up but it has a pullout bed..." and she started to bend over to show him. But he said, "No, not this couch. FREUD's couch!"
And so the artist lost both sales, a painting and a couch.