Art is in the eye of the beholder
The picture behind the sofa came from a rummage sale. Cost: five bucks.
The old movie poster that hangs in the guestroom came from your grandmother’s attic. You suppose it’s worth something, but you don’t care because it’s not for sale. Family photos line the hallway and those, of course, are priceless. And the puppies-and-kittens calendar you have in the kitchen didn’t cost you a thing.
None of those, of course, are Rembrandts or Renoirs, and you like them just the same. In the new novel, “An Object of Beauty” by Steve Martin, a young woman learns that art is in the eye of the beholder, especially if the beholder has deep pockets.
If it didn’t get written down, some would say it never happened. But Daniel Franks knew that the story of his friend, Lacey Yeager, needed to be told.
Nearly twenty years ago, Daniel met Lacey in college. Beautiful, smart, and confident, Lacey was one of those people who instantly brought fun into a room. Daniel slept with her once but it was only once, so Lacey’s claws were unable to fully sink in.
There was no doubt that she knew the affect she had on men, and she used it to her best advantage. One might say she was manipulative, but even that could be forgiven. Lacey was enchanting, which was a good thing to be in her field: she loved art, and had chosen it as her profession. Art was, in fact, the reason why she and Daniel both ended up in Manhattan.
It didn’t take long for Lacey to charm her way into the art world. She walked into Sotheby’s and got a job the first time she tried. She worked in the basement then and the pay was low but the chance to be seen was high. Brazenly, she put herself in front of the right important people and she worked herself up in the system. Soon, dealers were asking for her advice. She traveled around the world. She broke more than just a few hearts.
From a gallery-side seat, Daniel watched Lacey’s life rise to prominence in the art world. She claimed to have gotten her early love of art from her grandmother, who had posed for Maxfield Parrish many years ago.
But that’s not all she got from Grandma.
Quirky, gentle, scandalous, and sometimes on the slow side, “An Object of Beauty” is one of those novels that you can’t anticipate. You don’t know where it’s taking you, but you absolutely need to find out.
Author and actor Steve Martin’s humor brushes through this novel over and over, which made it fun to read and – surprisingly – informative. Lovers of art will relish the way Martin paints their world, but the story itself is only part of the enjoyment: Included are 22 color reproductions of various well- and little-known paintings from artists mentioned in the tale.
If you’re up for a novel that’s unpredictable and quietly humorous, here it is. Grab “An Object of Beauty” and picture yourself reading it.