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MatC
55738.  Mon Feb 27, 2006 10:51 am Reply with quote

Q: How did Voltaire make his pile?
A: He won the national lottery.

Voltaire is often given as the source of the saying “A lottery is a tax on stupidity.” In 1728, the philosopher - famous but not rich - became friendly with a mathematician, Charles Marie de La Condamine, who pointed out a loophole in the French government’s lottery: the prize was considerably greater than the sum total of ticket sales. So Voltaire bought all the tickets, and won 500,000 Francs - which kept him comfortable for the rest of his life.

Sources: Sunday Telegraph, 20 November 2005.
www.positiveatheism.org/hist/volthrrck.htm
www.newyorker.com/nocount/arrival.html

 
eggshaped
55750.  Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:16 am Reply with quote

I'm sure that I read that Monet (or was it Manet?) also won the French State lottery at some stage.

 
eggshaped
55753.  Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:24 am Reply with quote

Hmm, there are some “trivia” sites on the net who agree with me (no doubt where I heard it), but a couple of seemingly more authoritative sites claim that it was Monet’s contemporary Jean-Baptiste-Armand Guillaumin who won 100,000 francs in 1891

Quote:
For much of his career Jean-Baptiste-Armand Guillaumin (1841-1927) was associated with grittier subject matter than most of the Impressionists. He came from a working-class family and was employed on the Paris-Orléans railway.

Guillaumin worked at night and painted during the day, and he frequently chose industrial subjects such as laborers and barges along the Seine. In 1891 he won 100,000 francs in the state lottery, which allowed him to paint full-time. After that he spent more time outside of Paris and painted intensely personal landscapes that were an outgrowth of his experiments with pictorial technique in the 1880s. His bold, simplified late work anticipates later movements such as Fauvism.


http://www.impressionism.org/Experience/biographies.htm

http://www.clevelandart.org/explore/artist.asp?searchText=Guillaumin&tab=1&recNo=0

 
MatC
55759.  Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:38 am Reply with quote

Hmmmm... sounds a bit dodgy, then, doesn't it? Anyone got a reliable 920 of Voltaire to hand?

 
bugbear
1169723.  Fri Jan 15, 2016 5:38 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
Q: How did Voltaire make his pile?
A: He won the national lottery.

Voltaire is often given as the source of the saying “A lottery is a tax on stupidity.” In 1728, the philosopher - famous but not rich - became friendly with a mathematician, Charles Marie de La Condamine, who pointed out a loophole in the French government’s lottery: the prize was considerably greater than the sum total of ticket sales. So Voltaire bought all the tickets, and won 500,000 Francs - which kept him comfortable for the rest of his life.

Sources: Sunday Telegraph, 20 November 2005.
www.positiveatheism.org/hist/volthrrck.htm
www.newyorker.com/nocount/arrival.html


Wouldn't the government have noticed "the prize was considerably greater than the sum total of ticket sales" ?

You don't need to be a mathematician, just an accountant.

BugBear

 
Alfred E Neuman
1169798.  Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:03 am Reply with quote

bugbear wrote:
MatC wrote:
Q: How did Voltaire make his pile?
A: He won the national lottery.

Voltaire is often given as the source of the saying “A lottery is a tax on stupidity.” In 1728, the philosopher - famous but not rich - became friendly with a mathematician, Charles Marie de La Condamine, who pointed out a loophole in the French government’s lottery: the prize was considerably greater than the sum total of ticket sales. So Voltaire bought all the tickets, and won 500,000 Francs - which kept him comfortable for the rest of his life.

Sources: Sunday Telegraph, 20 November 2005.
www.positiveatheism.org/hist/volthrrck.htm
www.newyorker.com/nocount/arrival.html


Wouldn't the government have noticed "the prize was considerably greater than the sum total of ticket sales" ?

You don't need to be a mathematician, just an accountant.

BugBear


I'm neither and I'm sure I could calculate that, but the fact is that he was a mathematician, and not an accountant.

 

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