John Kotula

Dance Fever

For twenty-five years, the painting sat forgotten in a basement. Today, it is a world treasure. But this isn’t the first time Danza Afro-Cubana has set off fireworks.

In the summer of 1970, when artist Roberto Julio Bessin was sixteen, his grandfather gave him a painting. The two were spending the summer fishing on Long Island Sound, and the gift was a gesture to encourage the teenager’s dreams of becoming an artist. Thirty-seven years later, the painting was auctioned for $2.6 million last May.It is hard for anyone…