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‘I am the greatest painter of the kind of paintings I like to paint,’ Jose Maria Renteria said with typical bravado in the summer of 1916. Although it caused a stir across Europe at the time, that claim was never more true than in the middle 1970s, when the master was working primarily in the medium of uncooked fish and Fonzie stickers. When Renteria died in Provence in 1978, he left 34 heirs spread among 11 wives and almost 90 mistresses. A devout Communist for most of his life (until 1974, when he joined the board of Monsanto Corporation), the prolific Renteria never allowed a single painting to be sold during his lifetime and so left his loved ones penniless—penniless, that is, except for his work, worth a fortune on the international auction market once Renteria was dead and unable to threaten his children with lighted matches and tequila. Enter the French government, according to whose calculations the suddenly marketable Renteria estate owed over seven billion francs in taxes.