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  • 1978 was a busy, productive year for Gattorno.

    In March he celebrated his seventy-fourth birthday at a party given by his friends Ray Whittaker and George Marshall. George and Ray were painters themselves; they ran a gallery/photography business out of their home across the street from the Gattorno's. A few months earlier, Ray had photographed Isabel and Antonio. He then painted Gattorno's portrait in watercolor, Whittaker’s preferred medium, but without telling Antonio he was doing so.

    On the day of the party Ray asked Antonio to join him by the easel that stood draped on the corner of the patio. When Ray uncovered the painting, Gattorno was thoroughly surprised. He stared at the painting a moment, tried to speak, but overcome with emotion, he simply burst into tears and hugged his friend.

    Isabel, George and the others there began weeping as well. Then they all dried their tears, Gattorno began to compliment the piece, thanking Ray, and the party resumed with much laughter and camaraderie. Antonio Gattorno had great respect for Ray Whittaker's artistry and gave the portrait a place of honor in his home.
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