The artist Paul Gauguin achieved his greatest success long after death, so who knows, maybe you will too.
At the beginning of 1903, Gauguin was living on an island in Polynesia and engaged in a campaign designed to expose the incompetence of the island’s gendarmes, in particular Jean-Paul Claverie, for taking the side of the natives directly in a case involving the alleged drunkenness of a group of them. Claverie, however, escaped censure. At the beginning of February, Gauguin wrote to the governor, François Picquenot, alleging corruption by one of Claverie’s subordinates. Picquenot investigated the allegations but could not substantiate them. Claverie responded by filing a charge of libel against Gauguin, who was subsequently fined 500 francs and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment. Gauguin immediately filed an appeal in Papeete and set about raising the funds to travel to plead before the judge. At this time he was nearly penniless, very weak and in great physical pain. He resorted to using morphine. He died suddenly on the morning of 8 May 1903.
Nobody thought too much of his passing, but one hundred and ten years later, Gauguin’s painting Nafea Faa Ipoipo (When Will You Marry?) sold for $295,000,000 to the museums of Qatar, as one of the most expensive art objects ever. Gauguin would be tickled pink.
Who knows what you’ll be worth after you are dead?