Tuesday, January 18, 2011
An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
An Object of Beauty is the story of Lacey Yeager, a young art dealer in New York who uses her intelligence, tenacity, beauty, and some questionable tactics to work her way from the lower floors of Sotheby's to opening her own gallery.
The novel is narrated by Lacey's friend Daniel Franks, an art writer who, after a romantic encounter with Lacey, sees her as the magnetic center around which the novel's other characters revolve.
Though Lacey is the center of the events in the novel, the main character is the world of art collecting. An art collector himself, Martin's book sheds light on the inner workings of collecting and the psychology of dealers and collectors, what behaviors drive art auction prices, and the different types of art buyers and what motivates them to collect.
Helpful to those unfamiliar with the contemporary art world, throughout the book are full-color photos of pieces described, with just enough art history sprinkled in that the reader will learn a little along the way.