An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter by César Aira:
Rugendas and Krause got on well and had plenty to talk about, although both were rather quiet. They had traveled together in Chile a number of times, always in perfect harmony. The only thing that secretly bothered Rugendas was the irremediable mediocrity of Krause’s painting, which he was not able to praise in all sincerity, as he would have liked. He tried telling himself that genre painting did not require talent, since it was all a matter of following the procedure, but it was no use: the pictures were worthless. He could, however, appreciate his friend’s technical accomplishment and above all his good nature. Krause was very young and still had time to choose another path in life. Meanwhile he could enjoy these excursions; they would certainly do him no harm. Krause, for his part, was in awe of Rugendas, and the pleasure they took in each other’s company was due in no small measure to the disciple’s devotion. The difference in age and talent was not obvious, because Rugendas, at thirty-five, was timid, effeminate and gawky as an adolescent, while Krause’s aplomb, aristocratic manners and considerate nature narrowed the gap.