SEATTLE, Washington - Henry Miller didn't know how to manage the piles of money he started making when his juiciest works were finally published in the United States in the early 1960s. He had been poor most of his life, sometimes getting by by sending out letters to friends, begging for food, clothes, whatever.
In 1963 he had high tax bills and a less-than-optimal liquidity situation and sought advice; some of his accountants mentioned that he could get tax write-offs by donating his watercolors to museums and universities. Upon hearing this, Miller (73 years old at the time) tossed aside any notions of making a painting when inspiration struck, and cranked out scores of watercolors which were promptly donated off.
"Yes, I'd also like to donate this painting to your organization. It's worth ten thousand dollars. Yes, yes, I'll need a receipt."