AN OBJECT OF BEAUTY                                                        BY:      STEVE MARTIN
2010 copyright

All page numbers relate to the Kindle for iPad edition.

  1. Pg 3 - The tone is set right away and never deviates…Daniel Chester French Franks states he will tell Lacey’s story from recollections and gossip and that’s pretty much how it goes…pure chick lit from a man’s POV…were you at all surprised with this, and more observantly, that it is done so well or not by Steve Martin?   

  2. Pg 15 - The term “burned” is when a picture will not sell and buyers are scared of it.  It is considered deserted, so they either drastically reduce the price or sit on it for 4-7 years before trying to sell it again.   Sort of reminded me of the show “Burn Notice”…an agent is burned when he/she runs afoul with the agency and put out to pasture without work, support, or contact. 

  3. PG 15 - Lacey begins her crossover when she starts perceiving an “Object of Art” as an “Object of Value.”  Martin states that once done it “is difficult to return”.  Would you say that this is where Lacey also took the wrong fork in the road on her journey of duping and dealing?  Particularly with the painting of her grandmother, Kitty Owen?

  4. Pg 17 – Maxfield Parrish’s real name was Frederick Parrish but he later adopted the maiden name of his paternal grandmother, Maxfield, as his middle name and later as his professional name.  Do you think there is a correlation between this fact and the character use of Lacey’s grandmother?

  5. Pg 27 – After a night of sex and doing “x” drug, Jonah Marsh says “Last night, I saw a painting.  Now I’m going to go home and paint it.’ It was a momentous night for each of them….” Marsh believes Lacey when she says she loves him.

  6. Pg 32 - What makes a painting desirable?  The winding path that leads a collector to his prey -- Provenance, subject matter, rarity, perfection -- input from collector’s mind into things that lead to raw lust.  She knew lust made men controllable and applied this within the art business. 

  7. Pg 33 - What does viewing a picture under a black light reveal? It can reveal the artist’s original brush stroke beneath aged varnish.   It can also reveal newer varnishes and touchups not a part of the original painting.  It is also used as a tool to determine a painter’s methods as seen as VIS, IRFC, AND UVFC (ultra-visible florescent) images, ie: black light.  Works the same for statues, etc.

  8. Pg 38 -Buyer’s Premium + 12%

  9. Pg 52 – While Lacey is running through the National Gallery there is a brief one-line mention of Robert Motherwell’s “Elegy” – a 69” x 114” painting of phallic silhouettes – and she turns back and makes mention of it as “oh yeah, a dick and balls.”  However, there is much more here with the meaning of the word “elegy” which is a poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead.  Research reports that Motherwell’s “Elegies to the Spanish Republic have been a vehicle to express what Motherwell has called "a funeral song for something one cared about" in abstract, visual terms. The series, which was sparked by a small drawing Motherwell made in 1948 to accompany a poem by Harold Rosenberg, evolved into an ongoing, years-long exploration of the theme in more than 150 monumental canvases.”  Worth a bit more research, don’t you think?

  10. Pg 56 – What did you think of the painting “Los Angeles County Museum on Fire by Ed Rustha, 1968.  Stark, straight lines, more architectural than art?  How did your opinion change when Lacey compared it to the Twin Towers burning?  Did you then feel the stark madness of it?

  11. Pg 58 - Lacey furthers her art awareness when she looks around her apartment and sees “a student’s photograph, a student’s kitchen, a student’s vase.  A painting was an adult object by and for people with grown-up eyes.”  Has anything similar to this ever happen to you?  Maybe with the purchase of a car, an expensive purse, house…or going from DIY to hiring a decorator?

  12. Pg. 70 – Lacey comes into hundreds of thousands of dollars not by magic but by prestidigitation – a juggler’s trick -- but how is not exactly spelled out, except as a “feint” by her and Daniel.  The foreshadowing mentioned here becomes the undoing of them both! 

  13. Pg 99 – Pilot Mouse is mentioned for the first time and at the gallery he has installed another “fake” gallery complete with actors, etc to simulate the “gallery-going” experience.  It leaves Lacey uncomfortable and she wonders, “How the hell do they sell that?”  Can you speculate on this type of art? 

  14. Pg 102/103 – Lacey makes yet another leap in art when she is “affected not only by the object itself but by its theory.”  There is a justification comparison of Cubism and Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art and the leader of such art, Andy Warhol, resembling a zombie.  So art mimics life?  The point being this new art was ironic and the tag line for it was “This is ironic, and I’m not kidding.”  Makes me think of Picasso when he was walking through a city and some Army tanks turned the corner…he exclaimed that the camouflage painted on the tank was his cubism…

  15. Pg 103 – Commenting to Robert Miller, curator of Miller Gallery, on the Warhol painting of the flowers, Lacey says “I love the way the moonlight is reflected on the water.”  What water?

  16. Pg 113/115 – Pilot Mouse’s paintings weren’t that good but became good after collector Hinton Alberg bought them out… “The theory of relativity certainly applies to art: just as gravity distorts space, an important collector distorts aesthetics.  The difference is that gravity distorts space eternally, and a collector distorts aesthetics for only a few years.”  More importantly, Pilot Mouse became popular for having said t the NY Times that when he heard Alberg was coming to the gallery, he daubed truffle oil on every stretcher bar…to mock collector who bore the smell of money by making paintings with an odor that was best discerned by a pig… 

  17. Pg 177 --  Patrice Claire takes a Concorde flight to get to Lacey as soon as possible…I couldn’t resist checking to see if the Concorde was even in business that year…Concorde flew from 1968 – 2003, so it is relevant.

  18. Pg 183 – Pilot Mouse is supporting his friends opening…Mouse turns out to be Jonah Marsh, the man Lacey did “x” with and once said she loved. Does this mean that Lacey is really Marsh’s “Object of Beauty” but now Mouse’s “Object of Scorn”?

  19. Pg 217 – Did Steve Martin capture a good picture of what did happen to the art world after 9/11?  Did selling art after the apocalypse seem frivolous? 

  20. Pg 221 – The Gagosian Gallery at 555 W. 24th Street in NY is quite real and spans 25,000sq. ft. There are 11 GG’s in all worldwide plus offices and a shop.  The Richard Serra sculpture mentioned here, according to gallery web site, is titled “Switch” not “Betwixt the Torus and the Sphere”.  It was installed in Nov 1999.   Hmmm…

  21. For humor’s sake, what did you think of Ben and Belinda Boggs’ story of the “Felt Suit” by Joseph Beuys?

  22. Pg 244 – Two men in plain suits (again…they first appeared at Talley’s Gallery when Lacy was hired and later were the men who gave her the unmarked envelope with the Vermeer signature cut) arrive at the Chelsea galleries to question Lacey.  Did you feel like you missed something up to this point?  Apparently we did!  And herein unfolds the “prestidigitations’/feint” move that Lacey and Daniel performed in order for her to receive so much money….pg. 70.

  23. Pg 271 – FBI Bob talks about Lacey’s Aivazovsky painting titled “The Bay of Naples by Moonlight” saying, “And the reflection…well, I guess the reflection represents art.  It’s what lies between our dreams and reality.”  And, might I say that this is where Lacey now finds herself?

  24. Pg 280 – “On the last Monday in Sept, the Dow fell 778 points and continued its slide through the week.  Overnight the Arabs, the Russians, and the Asians left the art market….Art as an aesthetic principle was supported by thousands of years of discernment and psychic rewards, but art as a commodity was held up by air….”  Is this where we are now and if so, what is to be expected? 

  25. There is some speculation that the art industry will be saved by the Chinese Art Boom…however…at there is an article titled “5 Reasons the Chinese Art Boom May Not Buoy the Global Art Market After All.”  Another article is titled “Art School Exercise Mistaken for Classic Chinese Painting Sells for $11.4 Million at Auction” because it is mistaken and presented as an original by Xu Beihong but was not painted by him.  Other articles exclaim the high prices Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and others are getting for art sold….  So what do you think is the trend.  Let’s discuss….

  26. Other Steve Martin Books and etc.:

Novels:            The Pleasure of My Company

Plays:              Picasso at the Lapin Agile

Nonfiction:      Born Standing Up
                      Pure Drivel
                      Cruel Shoes

Screenplays:    Shopgirl
                      L.A. Story
                      The Jerk (coauthor)