"The Villages Orpheus" by Ilya Kagan

The Brochetain's helped many a newly emigrated artist through the tricky start of their new lives in the West. The initial contact between the artists and the collectors was established in two ways. First of all, many painters came to Paris with the Brochetains telephone number ­ some say that their number could be provided in exchange for a glass of vodka in Moscow. The phone was always ringing at the Brochetain's appartment and they would hurry off to meet the artist who had phoned and have a look at the work they had brought with them.

Secondly and more importantly however, the Brochetains knew no measure in their constant search for new artists, ideas and information from Russia. "If one is going to collect," says Lili, "there is no point in doing so in a half-heated manner". A certain taste and flair can be a starting point but, most of all, the collector must have boundless curiosity and energy if he wishes to constitute a really great collection.

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