Sculpture artist Paul Shipperheyn grasped the attention of a man named Laurence Matheson due to his incredible art. Shpperheyn first met Matheson in 1981 after he delivered a particularly large sculpture to his home.
Matheson purchased a life-size marble sculpture that Shipperheyn carved of his own wife, Cinzia. It took eight people to move the sculpture to Matheson's garden. Shipperheyn helped deliver the work of art without even knowing that the very rich man who bought the piece was one of the men putting in the work to bring it to the garden.
“After much cursing and one squashed finger we placed the piece on the site,” Shipperheyn said. “At this point, Laurie, who had pitched in and sweating like the rest of us, introduced himself, declaring he liked my work very much. Up until this point I had not realized this, thought that he was one of the staff around the place.”
Matheson invited the Shipperheyn's over for a glass of champagne. He offered the sculpture a "fistful of money" to go to Italy and make him a "big sculpture."
The artist was able to take the money and create a prototype to present to Matheson and a group of his friends. While everyone was raving over the piece, Matheson pulled the artist aside to ask about the price. When Shipperheyn told him the price, which felt like a small fortune to him, Matheson left the room only to come back with all of that money in cash. No contract required.
When Matheson passed away in 1989, his widow, Christina, commissioned a haunting marble sculpture of a woman for his headstone. Shipperheyn calls Matheson an extraordinary person.