11.3 update: according to TV Nova, the painter has been found and the author notified. Confirmation still to come.
Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, whose books have sold over 200 million copies worldwide, is particularly popular in the Czech Republic, where his novels The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, Like the Flowing River, and others have been translated into bestselling Czech versions.
Now, he’s asking for some help from the local Prague community.
One day in 1982, the author found himself walking through the streets of Prague when a memorable encounter occurred.
From Coelho’s official blog:
In 1982, my wife and I decided to start travelling without any specific place to go, wandering around and visiting many countries for several months. In January 1982 we ended up in Praha (it was during the communist regime).
Sunday morning, January 24 in the The Golden street of Alchemists, we saw a lone person drawing. It was winter, freezing cold, but this man was there, following his call (today there are many dozens doing the same). My wife and i were the only ones walking in this street. I decided to buy one of his drawings. He was so happy that he decided to draw my wife for free. I was a little bit embarrassed, but while watching him doing this, I thought: “this is an example for me. Nobody is here, nobody is buying anything , but this does not stop him what he wants to do.”
At the end, I gave him TWO GIFTS, the only things that I had in my pocket.
The author is asking for any help in identify the man (whose first name appears to be Jan and last name appears to start with T and end with K, judging by the signature below), who he wishes will become his guest of honor when Coehlo comes back to Prague on March 19.
The author notes that if the man comes forward he must be able to identify the two gifts the author gave him back in 1982. Let’s hope he has a good memory, or the encounter was as memorable for the artist as it was for the author.
If you have any information regarding the identity of the artist responsible for the artwork below, Coehlo requests you reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.