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"All Your Bass Are Belong to Us"


One of the most prolific painters of the 17th or any other century, Anonymous used an astonishing range of techniques and media. She has been justifiably described as "The Picasso of the Past."

The painting at hand was done to commemorate the cornering of the Bruge fish market in Belgium by the Fratelli Brothers, unscrupulous fishmongers who had been evicted from their native Italy for selling vast tracts of real estate which they did not happen to own. In Belgium they quickly found a weakness in the Fish Exchange, which they were able to parlay into a considerable fortune by manipulating the junk stockfish market. Once they had seized control they raised fish prices astronomically, to the point where a single goldfish was worth its weight in. 

Vittorio, on the left, was the wheeler-dealer who did the actual purchasing and reselling. Antonio, on the right, being of a more creative bent, single-handedly created a market for gourmet cuts and exotic species. He is also thought to be the creator of chowder, bouillabaisse, paella, jambalaya and similar dishes based on the recycling of fish that have passed their sell-by date.
The curious title has been the subject of much speculation on the part of art historians. The consensus is that it represents a boastful remark by the brothers in poorly-understood Belgian.

Acquisition funded in part by a grant from Mrs. Pauls.® "If It Swims, It's History." ™

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