Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Nude portrait won't go on tour

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: My wife's cousin is a very talented artist. About five and a half years ago I approached her to commission a nude painting of my wife.

I sent her photos and earnest money in the amount of $250. She replied that a modeling session would help. My wife traveled to her city, approximately 500 miles away, for the session. She also visited friends and family, and so she was happy to make the trip.

My next contact with the artist was a few months later, when she advised me that she didn't know how to proceed, and would not be able to complete the commission. I received no money back, which wasn't a big deal.

Since then, I have retired, we have moved twice, and are excited to basically move into our Airstream full time as we travel the country.

Recently, we hit the road for three months and stopped by the cousin's studio. On an easel was a half-finished nude portrait of my wife.

The artist asked what we thought. I reminded her that she had advised me that she was abandoning the project five years ago. "Oh, no." was her reply.


We were going to Europe for three weeks and she said that she would have the piece completed upon our return.

When we got back, it was completed, but we have moved on and really don't want the piece. We don't have room for it -- and it is not her best work.

My question is, what is our obligation to accept this commissioned artwork after over five years? We love this cousin, but feel like this should have been handled differently.

-- Reluctant Art Collector


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