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Chapter 97 Part 1 - The Mysterious Art Museum

A street artist's life changed when he ended up at a mysterious art museum. DBT,Korean,Novel,Translation,Art,Artist,Slice of life,Poor to Rich,Mystery

A Painting for Them (11)

We asked about each other's well-being and responded in kind.

Once the mood was ripe with trivial banter exchanged nonchalantly, Henri broached the main topic.

"True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the detestation of it, the refusal to learn. The world is full of such ignorant people. Life is too short to spend with those devoid of talent. I need a friend like you, Ban."


At this time, Henri had been used and marginalized so much that he harbored a deep loathing for humanity.

However, knowing that he couldn't leave this psychiatric hospital on his own, I used the information I had about him to persuade him.

"But Henri, the reason we can sit in the shade today is because someone planted a tree a long time ago. You shouldn't hate humanity itself. The need for connection and community is as fundamental as the need for air, water, and food."

Henri looked me in the eyes and said,

"I don't want to care about what people think of me or what they say. I know who I am. But it's really hard to put such simple words into action. Truth without the backing of love makes that truth exceedingly unpleasant and the bearer of it loathsome. I have plenty of such people around me."

That just prolongs your stay here, Henri.

"Friendship is like a bank account. You can't keep withdrawing from it without making deposits, Henri."

Henri sighed and looked out the window.

"Relationships are like glass. It's often better to leave them broken than hurt yourself trying to put them back together."

No, Henri.

If you go on like this, you'll be here even longer.

Henri mumbled to himself, a mix of grumbling and resignation.

“I've drawn many paintings to prove to the doctor that I'm still capable of pursuing my art. How many more must I draw before the doctor realizes he can't keep me here? I want to leave. They have no right to keep me locked up.”

It's not because of the paintings, you fool.

I know.

I know how Henri eventually got out of the hospital.

He eventually couldn't bear the confinement and, swallowing his pride, sought help from his friend Maurice Jouayang and distant relative Paul Bieu. The doctor finally agreed to discharge Henri on the condition that he wouldn't be left alone.

If I take his side here, I might end up confined here for a longer time.

What if that happens?

The numerous paintings he made after being discharged might vanish from history.

If I hadn't visited this place, maybe the rift in human relationships wouldn't have deepened because of our conversations.

"Too much trust might lead to being deceived, but not trusting enough leads to living in pain. To become a true artist, one needs not to stand above people but with them, Henri."


Did my words about becoming a true artist act as a catalyst?

Henri, who had been arguing, finally falls silent.

“Henri, let me tell you. I lived a very long life as a street artist, unnoticed by anyone. I might have worked for a month to earn what you drink in a day. Do you know how I ended up like this? Because of people, Henri. Because of people.”

I slowly unfolded my story.

“We were poor since I was young. My brother was visually impaired.”

Henri's eyebrows furrowed.

“Your brother?”



“My father passed away when I was very young, and our already struggling family was ruined. Then the vicious cycle of poverty repeated itself.”

The cycle of poverty.

I've lived a life learning firsthand why such a phrase exists.

If you don't have money today to treat a cavity, next year it turns into a more expensive implant. Ignoring a minor illness due to lack of funds leads to a major one requiring more money. If you can't afford education, you end up unable to earn money because you're uneducated. The cycle of poverty thus continues, spiraling down.

Looking at Henri, who was focused on my words, I said,

“But through all this, I met a friend who stood by me.”

“A friend in the same situation?”

“No, Henri. She was from a well-off family. Not as prominent as yours, but she was born into a family that built a large house in the capital, well-known in the South of France.”

“Did she hang out with someone poor like you?”

“Yes, in fact, initially, I was skeptical like you. Was it out of pity? Was she befriending me because she felt sorry for me?”

“Did you find the answer?”

“The answer always lies in the process of seeking it. But to this day, I believe in my friend and our friendship as genuine.”


I resumed sharing my life story.

“My first breakthrough as a painter came from a project with a large corporation. And it was that friend who arranged this job for me.”

Well, in truth, Youngju just suggested I enter a competition, but still, if Youngju hadn't mentioned it, I would have missed out. So, it's all thanks to Youngju.

If that had happened, I wouldn't know what would have happened next. So, Young-ju deserves credit.

"I was thrown into another relationship. It was a woman named Monica from Italy. She gave me numerous opportunities, and I seized most of them."

"Italy? Has Italy entered Joseon?"

"············. I don't know that well, but somehow it happened. And Monica introduced me to the youngest daughter of a conglomerate owner, and now I maintain a relationship with her while gaining fame."

"Did she also host the exhibition you mentioned earlier?"

"That's right."

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