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A man asked an artist to paint him a fish. The artist agreed and told him to return in one year.

After the year passed, the man returned and requested his painting. As he watched, the artist produced a canvas and brushes and took five minutes to create the most beautiful painting he had ever seen.

"This is perfect," said the collector, as he looked at the still-drying fish, "but I must admit, I'm quite annoyed that you made me wait an entire year for something that very clearly took you only five minutes to produce!"

Wordlessly, the artist gestured to a nearby cabinet. The man opened it, and out poured thousands of sketches and studies of fish, more than he thought one person could produce in a lifetime, much less 365 days.

He nodded in gratitude, and exited with his painting.

Is this story originally by Rémy Charlip in Arm in Arm?

I think the story is an expansion of a quip by the portrait artist Whistler: http://news.ycombinator.net/item?id=1716265

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