The story goes that a wealthy couple was honeymooning in the south of France in the early sixties. The groom was a connoisseur and collector of fine art. In fact he owned several paintings by Pablo Picasso. By coincidence, they met an art dealer at their hotel who knew Picasso personally and offered an introduction. Arrangements were made for a rendezvous at Picasso’s villa in Vallauris, just outside Cannes, the following day.
The party arrived at noon and was treated to a tour of Picasso’s studio by the master himself. In the course of small talk, the groom gathered all of his nerve to ask Picasso if he would consider painting a portrait of his bride. To his surprise, Picasso agreed. In their excitement the couple began chattering about how long to extend their hotel reservation and about buying a special gown for the sitting until Picasso brusquely interrupted to ask if a photograph of the young woman was available. Her husband took a snapshot from his wallet and handed it over. “Well,” Picasso said, “just leave this with me and go find some lunch in the village. Come back in one hour. I will have a painting for you.”
Astonished, the couple left with the art dealer for a bite to eat. They returned in one hour, just as Picasso was putting the finishing touches on a splendid if rather theoretical likeness of the beautiful bride. (Incidentally, you may assume that Picasso infringed no one’s copyright by creating a derivative work from the snapshot; the groom took the photo!) Everyone was pleased.
The groom inquired casually about Picasso’s fee, as he reached into his pocket for a checkbook. Picasso asked for $25,000 (in French francs). While price was no obstacle, the man joked about what a nice job it was to make $25,000 an hour painting pictures. Picasso’s sober retort was,
“You don’t pay me by the hour. You pay for the years of hard work that made it possible for me to paint such a picture in only one hour!”
From Tom Zimberoff’s book, Photography: Focus on Profit