40” X 30”
NOW IT CAN BE TOLD!
In the early summer of 2004, I met Keanu Reeves at Le Clafoutis, a Sunset Strip restaurant, and chatted with him about perhaps doing a portrait for his fortieth birthday in September 2004. He said his schedule of filming would not allow him to sit, so I let go of the idea for a while. But subsequently, I decided to do the painting, based on my memory of our interaction that Sunday morning, augmented by photos from the Internet and video from recent films. The painting was done, not for commercial purposes, but with the idea of making a gift of the portrait to him.
When I finished the painting, I contacted an acquaintance at Creative Artists Agency in August 2004 and was informed that CAA would gladly facilitate the gift and forward the portrait to Mr. Reeves. As I was instructed, I suitably boxed the painting and delivered it to CAA on August 26, 2004. A few days later and again in November 2004, I was informed that the painting had been sent on to Mr. Reeves within a day or two of its delivery to CAA. Thereafter, I reasonably assumed that my work had been received by Mr. Reeves, though I had received no acknowledgment from him. "Oh well, such is life."
In 2006, however, I encountered Mr. Reeves again outside Le Clafoutis. I reminded him of our earlier conversation and inquired if he had received the painting. Mr. Reeves replied that he had not. Indeed, he seemed to have no knowledge of the painting whatsoever. Perhaps he assumed I was up to something, but he was polite and definite that he knew nothing of it.
Once again, I contacted CAA and was assured the painting had been sent to him. Obviously, someone was lying. I was unable to forget the look on Mr. Reeves' face when I asked him about the painting. His puzzlement was so genuine that I knew in my gut he had not received it. Understandably, I was unhappy that the valuable work of art I created as a gift for Mr. Reeves had apparently disappeared, so I decided to look into it further.
My able and persistent attorney sent several letters to CAA that went unanswered. Finally he threatened to demand from their general counsel an accounting in court. Miraculously the missing portrait surfaced within days. "We have located the painting." Long story short, I found that I had been misled, and the painting had never left CAA. It even moved with them from Wilshire Boulevard to their new signature headquarters in Century City. Someone there really liked it.
I have retrieved the painting from its kidnappers. Perhaps I will yet have the chance to give it to Mr. Reeves.
Posted by Louis Briel / Portrait Painter at 10:39 AM