An Object of Beauty

An Object of Beauty

by Steve Martin


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446573658
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 11/15/2011
Pages: 295
Sales rank: 392,056
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Steve Martin is a legendary writer, actor, and performer. His film credits include Father of the Bride, Parenthood, The Spanish Prisoner, and Bringing Down the House, as well as Roxanne, L.A. Story, and Bowfinger, for which he also wrote the screenplays. He's won Emmys for his television writing and two Grammys for comedy albums. In addition to a play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, he has written a bestselling collection of comic pieces, Pure Drivel, and a bestselling novella, Shopgirl, which was made into a movie. His work appears frequently in The New Yorker and The New York Times.


Beverly Hills, California

Date of Birth:

August 14, 1945

Place of Birth:

Waco, Texas


Long Beach State College; University of California, Los Angeles

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An Object of Beauty 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 337 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Art writer Daniel Frank of the Stockbridge, Massachusetts Franks is bone marrow weary of his 24/7 thoughts about his amoral former lover Lacey Yeager. He knows she will sleep with anyone to get a head. In hopes of purging her from his blood, he writes down his thoughts about the rise and rise of Lacey Yeager in the upscale Manhattan art world. In the Clintonian Era, twenty-three years old beautiful Lacey Yeager obtains an entry level job as a Sotheby staffer. The intelligent and ambitious Lacey quickly rises up in rank in the company's normally glacial pace. As she did at Sothby's to obtain promotions, Lacey uses her body and brain to obtain a position at exclusive Barton Talley's gallery of "Very Expensive Paintings"; ethics is for the hogs and legalities is for the frightened losers. Finally she achieves her objective of opening up the Lacey Yeager gallery in Chelsea and even 9/11 fails to prevent her meteoric rise to the troposphere of the high priced art universe. As a microcosm of the greed that led to the crash, An Object of Beauty is a terrific look at the ultra rich in which avarice with a need for more is a way of life as Steve Martin eloquently states that America has an aristocratic class with no moral ties to the country. The addition of pictures of paintings adds a fine art touch to the story line. However, this is Lacey's tale as she is a fascinating prototype as seen through the eyes of her whining former lover who exposes much of himself having a brain with one icon imprinted on it even as he exposes the woman he loathes and cherishes. Although the ending feels off kilter, Mr. Martin provides a profound condemnation of wealth without morality is worthless. Harriet Klausner
The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
Lacey Yeager and her life is truly like the works of art she touches every day. Art is a thing of beauty to some and an unrecognizable glob to someone else. Either way no one can explain why they feel that way but Lacey had a way for drawing people in but for a reason no one can clearly explain. Art is something that you love or hate and everything in between is just white space. Lacey rises to the top of the art world by figuring out the players, learning how the game is manipulated and using all her acquired skills to buy for cheap and sell for high. She uses men like toys and friends are just as well for her personal pleasure. Lacey brings people close and never lets them really know what she is up to. Her apartment is overpriced and her clothes always chic but underneath it all is a woman that needs validation and be as complicated as she is simplistic. This story is told through the one consistent man in Lacey's life Daniel Chester French Franks - yes he has heard the jokes about his name! Daniel tells the tale of Lacey as seen by a man that loves her and hates her at the same time but still can't live without her. Lacey grows as an art expert and woman and as they plays out you realize there is more than a pretty face behind that frame. Steve Martin is a man who clearly knows how to write a book with characters you know and understand and basically feel they are people you interact with. This is a gift of a great writer and again with this book Mr. Martin shows he is someone that knows how to tell a joke and play out a straight line. The addition of an art history lesson is one that this reader thoroughly enjoyed and thought was a smooth addition to the pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. sad it's over. Do yourself a fsvor thiugh and read the actual book. There are 20ish color images of the art mentioned in the book, and seeing those, in color snd at the size he intended in thr book was very helpful. I reserved a copy from our library and only had to wait a week or so to get it. Sorry Nook, you lose on this one.
TheAnonymousDude More than 1 year ago
Steve Martin returns to wild and crazy in a formulaic, slapstick tale of an art critic without a clue learning the art of life and love from a ruthless young woman on the make. Oh yeah, and the guy is really, really, stupid. Well, sort of. Perhaps only in terms of expectations. Seriously, this is my favorite type of book: one that takes me to places I haven't been. In this case, an absurd world focused on "converting objects of beauty into objects of value." It is written with intelligence and wit. Perhaps some day first editions will sell for sums only those beyond wealthy can afford. Those of us who converted to e-books will feel pretty foolish then. All we'll have is the memory of enjoying a great read.
NoAutographsPlease More than 1 year ago
When I finished "Shopgirl" I hugged it, I literally hugged it for about 20 minutes, that's how much I loved it. The writing, the feeling, the small but ample plot... everything was so delicately placed that before I knew it I was in love. I was sad when I finished it. I read it again. "An Object Of Beauty" isn't a "bad" book... it just seems to lack those things which made "Shopgirl" so incredibly perfect. The plot was frenzied, I felt like he wanted to tell 12 stories at once, and while I commend the attempt-- even understand why, I just didn't feel like it stacked up. I enjoyed reading it, and I did so in 3 days, but part of the drive behind it was the fact that I kept looking for "it" to happen. I was looking for the spark, the glow, the "aha" moment that would make me go "Oh, here we go, now I can forgive how I felt." I hit the last page and instead of wanting to hug it, I simply went "Really?" I wasn't satisfied. I love all things Steve Martin, and probably if it was anyone else I wouldn't push them to so high a bar... but he missed, just by a hair, the beauty that there could have truly been.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Lacey Yeager is a brilliant up and coming art student who upon graduating from college lands herself a job at Sotheby's as an intern. Starting at the bottom doesn't exactly pay the type of money that Lacey's been accustom to and she struggles to find a way to get there one way or another. Her life is chronicled in sporadic details by her high school friend, Daniel Chester French Franks, as he meets with her through different times of her life. What he doesn't know as a fact he fills in to make the story complete. He is also an art school graduate and a former one night stand of Lacey's. As Lacey works from the basement, cataloging pictures, she begins to look for her next step on the ladder of success. She begins to learn how art works are sold, which ones sell and why others don't. As she begins to work her way to the top, she finds out that they are more than objects of beauty but objects of value. Much of the way she begins to see a parallel in her own life. She begins to work towards the finer things in life she desires which means finding herself a rich, wealthy and successful man willing to lavish it on her. In the latest novel by Steve Martin, former Saturday Night Live star, actor and now author, in Object of Beauty we see how Lacey's life and the art objects she finds and sells are similar and how certain some things can be rendered priceless. I received this book compliments of Hachette Book Groups for my honest review. I would have to rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars just based on the content contained within the storyline itself that some readers may find offensive, such as profanity and sexual content. Overall I think the story shares a profound message that not all beauty can be seen from the outside and everything has a price.
LynnB on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Steve Martin is a good writer. This book centers on the career of Lacey Yeagar, who is amoral, willing to work hard and to use her beauty and charm to get ahead. Mr. Martin has done an excellent job of portraying Lacey. He's also done a excellent job of describing the world of art collecting and galleries in New York over the past 18 years.I didn't like this book as much as I did his other two. I found the plot was secondary to Lacey's character, but I couldn't feel either much sympathy nor animosity for her. But, it got better towards the end, and I did like the ending a great deal because it brought Daniel into a brighter perspective for me.
PamelaBarrett on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Our storyteller, Daniel Franks, met Lacey Yeager when they were in college, where they bonded over their interest in art. He follows his art passion by writing art reviews for magazines and newspapers while she immerses herself in the world of buying and selling art: gleaning lessons as she works her way up from the basement of Sotheby¿s and from behind the scenes of glamorous New York Galleries. Young and beautiful, Lacey is also smart, shrewd, and cunning in her climb to the top. She learns the ropes quickly, and Daniel, who has always been under her spell, follows her every move. This novel is an insider¿s look at the art world as told in a way that only Steve Martin could tell¿art history as a soap opera, never boring his tidbits about the artists and their creations are spot on. I spent hours asking my artist husband about these insights which he verified by dragging out books of specific paintings and artist bios. I would love to recommend it to students everywhere, but for one thing: the amount of sexual content is too much. One of my favorite quotes was ¿She understood that while a collector¿s courtship of a picture was ostensibly romantic, at its root was lust.¿ Lust is part of the art world; too many artists slept with their models, each other and gallery owners over the centuries, but I think that he went a little overboard with descriptions of Lacey¿s promiscuity. The details of her affairs had me skipping pages (TMI Steve) the title could have also been ¿Lust of the Eyes, and Lust of the Flesh.¿ I¿m giving Object of Beauty 4 stars for the writing, story, and all the art education.
caitemaire on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The art business is, it seems, in many ways more about the business than about the art and Lacey Yeager is a player who very much wants to succeed. Oh yes, Lacey who is described as beautiful, always stylish and smart, will do any number of questionable things, both personally and in business, to get ahead. The story is narrated by her friend, the budding art critic Daniel Franks, and it was there, for me that the problems began.We never get to know Franks. Actually it is never really clear why he so taken with her, taken enough that he helps her, as we at last find out, do a particularly skeevy thing, bad even for Lacey. His character seems unnecessary and his occasional reappearance always seemed surprising and out of place. We could have done without him.Then there is Lacey herself. Are we suppose to like her, hate her? Again, for me she was never real enough to care either way. She is smart and beautiful, we are told, able to woo men and woman or anyone who might advance her career and is certainly not above using her sexuality to get ahead. The problem was, that as we are told that again and again, she seems to become more a middle aged man's fantasy about a beautiful successful woman than a real person.On the plus side, the author treats us to a number of interludes, worked into the story, where he introduces us to a number of works of art with some very nice illustrations. Fine in themselves, educational even, but still, they never felt natural to the book but more like little lectures, brief commercial interludes for very, very expensive products.Which brings us to the final point. What is this book about? Certainly, it is not really about Lacey. Is it a commentary that art has become just another commodity, like coffee beans or pig bellies, where it is all about money, often astronomical, amount of money? Yes, people can be greedy and yes, as long as art is bought and sold, it is apart of a business. But, for me, a novel has to make that idea personal, to make me care, and I never did. Love her or hate her, wanting her to succeed or fail, to get caught or get away with it, the reader has to feel connected. Lacey and her story all boiled down to one word for me.Boring. I just did not care.
sgsain on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is a great book for anyone who is interested in Art and the business of Art. Written in a mix of third and first person, Steve Martin (yes, it's that Steve Martin) takes the reader into the world of fine and not so fine art and the business behind it. Along the way you meet an ambitious art scholar and her art writer friend. Around them is a collage of characters from all the various aspects of the New York art business from the elite auction house employees to the upscale gallery owners to the artists and, of course, the collectors who spend fortunes on these objects of beauty. There's another object of beauty, Lacey Yeager, who uses her physical allure and wit to propel herself upward in this world. She starts as an auction assistant, then on to a gallery, and finally to her goal of gallery ownership. Throughout her climb she collects information, men, art, and eventually money. Her writer friend is always on the periphery observing. In contrast to the richness of the art, Mr. Martin uses a sparse writing style punctuated with illustrations of actual art pieces for clarity. His insights makes one wonder how much he himself maybe drawn in by this world.
cplanten on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Not the greatest novel ever written, but this book is a quick and enjoyable read.
maggie1944 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I finished reading [9997232::An Object of Beauty]. Steve Martin, yes...the Steve Martin, comedian...., wrote it and I think he was hoping for a movie. I can't recommend the book highly although I think it was relatively well written and probably could qualify is good fluff. A first person narrator, a writer for Arts magazines, gives an accounting of a young woman's "career" as an art dealer in New York City just before and just after 9/11/2001. I did learn a good deal about the art market in NYC, and other major cities and if I was more informed in advance there may have been some interesting comments about the history of art during that time; but, you know I could not discriminate between the fiction and the nonfiction environment.I did not identify with, nor become attached to, the narrator nor the young woman. I didn't like either of them very much and I am sure that affected my enjoyment of the book. Perhaps if the narrator was played by Johnny Depp in the movie, I might care more.I am going to give it three stars as I think it was well enough written and constructed to give some readers a good read. About 75% through the book the tension finally began to build and there were a couple of "crisis" points in the book as it wound its way down to a conclusion which was somewhat predictable.
shearon on LibraryThing 8 months ago
A very good, very serious book from this comedian and actor. This is the story of Lacey Yeager, a smart, beautiful, ambitious and manipulative young woman in the New York art business. Lacey will do whatever it takes to advance herself and her interests. The story traces the cycles of the art business through the 1990's and early 2000's. Lacey goes from an unknown clerk assigned to the basement at Sotheby's to owning her own successful gallery, but pays a steep price along the way. Also a fascinating glimpse into art and the New York art market during both boom and bust Definitely a worthwhile read.
burnit99 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The story of a young, ambitious and amoral woman whose career desires are stoked at her first job at Sotheby's in New York. Over the decade or so that the book covers, her rise to eventual ownership of her own gallery takes her through the East Coast art world, Russia, and the wealthy men and women for whom art is not so much a matter of beauty as it is of perceived beauty. Lacey Yeager's rise parallels that of the meteoric rise in fine art prices in the late 1990s, and her eventual downfall matches that of the wealthy society to which she attached herself. Steve martin is a man of multiple gifts: a competent magician, breakthrough stand-up comic, gifted screenplay writer, talented comic and (occasionally) dramatic actor, fine banjo player and bluegrass musician, novelist, and now a man who at least has absorbed enough research to be able to present a convincing inside look into the world of fine art, its creators, fans, buyers and sellers. Envy bubbles within me. The book is well-written, clever and witty, and probably destined to be a movie with Steve Martin as the narrator. The storyline touches on a few of my favorite artists, and some of the actual paintings that play a role in the book are depicted in color plates.
bookmagic on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Lacey Yeager, an up and coming art dealer, is the protagonist of Steve Martin's latest work, which spans about fifteen years in the New York City art world. Daniel Franks, is the narrator writing the book to excise Lacey from his mind.We follow Lacey from her entry-level job at Sotheby's to a high end gallery on the Upper East Side, to Chelsea, where Lacey opens her own gallery.Martin takes us deep into the art world, to the behind the scenes look at auction houses, to the houses of collectors, even to international dealings. We learn about expensive European art, the Picasos, the Van Goghs to the modern pop art of Andy Warhol and a new movement. Martin also takes us through the financial ups and downs of the art world as it shifts from conservative to modern art, survives 9/11 and the stock market crash of 2008. We follow Lacey's life as it parallels to this world.Lacey and Daniel became friends in college and both end up in Manhattan, Lacey as a dealer, Daniel as a writer of art. Lacey is young, smart, ambitious, slightly manipulative, and beautiful. Her walk-on role at Sotheby's stood in contrast to her starring role in the East Village bars and cafes. After her practiced and perfected subway ride home, which was timed like a ballet-her foot forward, the subway car opening just in time to catch her-she knew the bar lights were coming on, voices were raised, music edging out onto the sidewalks. She felt like the one bright light, the spot-lit girl scattering fairy dust...Though I really enjoyed this book, I can't say I had a lot of love for the characters. Daniel is pretty boring. But I did not find Lacey as evil as I think the author intended her to be portrayed. Yes, she is ambitious but I'm sure no more than any up and coming art dealer that wants to make a name for themselves. Lacey has a relationship with a wealthy French art dealer who is madly in love with her, though Lacey does not return his affection to that degree. But she doesn't use him for anything other than sex and fun nor does she make him any promises. But somehow I felt that this relationship was supposed to epitomize Lacey's amorality, which I just did not see.Near the beginning of the book, we learn that Lacey has come into a significant amount of money, but we are not told how. This event is alluded to throughout the book until we finally learn how that came about. This was another time that I think was supposed make me dislike Lacey, but it was rather a let down after the long build up. I won't spoil it, but it was not the crime of the century. The fact that Daniel played a role which eventually comes to haunt him, did not make me feel sympathetic to him. Really, at no point in this book did I see anything to justify Daniel's resentment of Lacey.Although I did not see Lacey as I think the author meant me to, I still very much enjoyed this book and the very detailed look into the art world. Martin's writing is excellent as always. However, the story lacked the poignancy of The Shopgirl, in part because of its main focus on art and partly because there really was no connection with the characters. Some of the minor characters were interesting, especially the collectors, but neither Lacey nor Daniel had much depth. If I had not been interested in the art aspects, I probably would not have liked this novel. This work is not for everyone, I could see many being bored; if they aren't interested in art, they won't like this book. It seemed as if Martin wanted to write about the art world that he loves and the characters were just something to tell the story around.I think my review makes it sound as if I liked the book less than I did. But I didn't, it just wasn't the book it was made out to rating 4/5
realbigcat on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I love Steven Martin as a performer, musician and a especially a writer. I very much enjoyed his latest novel that centers around the art world.. Martin himself is an avid art collector and historian. His knowledge of the art world is showcased in this novel that centers around a girl named Lacey and her move through the arts. The book could be classified as a classroom for art education while mixing in an interesting story of a young womans rise from the basement of Sotheby's to owning her own gallery. Along the way is an interesting story of art collectors, auction houses, art gallerys and the international art elite. Lacey is very ambitious and very beautiful. She knows how to climb the ladder of success by using anyone she can. A great book that I enjoyed reading.
detailmuse on LibraryThing 8 months ago
An Object of Beauty is to some extent a novel -- a quick, satiric, caper-ish recounting of 20 years in the life of Lacey Yeager, a charismatic and manipulative young art dealer whose ambition ¿often left blood in the water.¿ But to a larger extent, it¿s an inside look at Manhattan¿s fine-art world in the late 20th- and early 21st-century.I enjoyed Martin¿s novella The Pleasure of My Company, but the novel aspect of this book -- the (shallowness of) story and character -- completely failed to engage me. I also kept getting bumped by the narrator -- a peripheral character whose job as freelance writer for an art magazine is supposed to make it believable that he¿s interviewed the other characters to the point of omniscience about their every thought, motivation and activity. Yet the art-world aspect was more interesting -- a look at contemporary artists, art collectors, dealers, galleries, auction houses and Manhattan itself, with a couple dozen full-color illustrations of the paintings referenced in the story. It sent me to the Internet numerous times to see which aspects were ¿real¿ and to pursue them further, and it will likewise engage other readers who are interested in the art world.(Review based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher.)
mojomomma on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I read this solely because I enjoy Steve Martin. This novel follows the rise of a young woman in the New York art world in the 1990's and up through 2008. Martin includes a lot of information about art, both the old masters and contemporary art, even including a number of color illustrations within the text of the book. Lacey Yeager, the main character, is a bit ruthless in her climb to the top of the art world...or as close as she can come to the top before other world and economic events catch up with her.
Smiler69 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Lacey Yeager has beauty and smarts, is used to attracting everyone's attention when she enters a room, which are assets she has already put to good use by hear early 20s, or so our narrator, and old university friend of hers, tells us when he presents us to her. Both intended to do something with their background in art studies when they graduated, and while our narrator happily chose to live a quiet an humble life as an art writer, Lacey had bigger ambitions and decided she was going to make it big on the selling end of things, and so jumped on the many opportunities that her first job as a lowly Sotheby's employee in the early 90s could offer her. There, she learned to recognize the difference between good art and saleable art, and from there on, kept going from one ambitious scheme to another, and never once looking back on the victims she left behind in her quest to latch on to the latest object of beauty. Lacey is by no means a likeable character, but I found her progress in the art world, and her willingness to put her body and what little soul she might have on the line, chewing up victims as she went, to be fascinating. Martin based himself on his own experience as an avid and well connected collector for this fascinating fictionalized peek at the exclusive big-spender club that is the art collector's market in the past couple of decades, with references to such well-known artists and works from Van Gogh, Picasso, and Warhol to fictional contemporary artist like Pilot Mouse. If you've ever wondered why and how works of art can command ever-growing prices into the hundreds of millions of dollars, this is a very entertaining way to find out.
maryjomac on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Good! Well written. I always like Steve Martin's writing.
jo-jo on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is my first experience with Steve Martin's writing and I'm hoping it will not be my last. This audiobook was narrated by Campbell Scott and he really seemed to capture the essence and the voice of Steve Martin for me. Martin drops us right in the middle of the retail art world and brings to surface events that I wouldn't even have considered.Daniel Franks realizes early on that he could never have a lasting and realistic relationship with Lacey Yeager. When Lacey becomes a critical element to the Sotheby's Art Gallery she will basically do anything for anyone if the action will give her a step up the ladder in the art world. Daniel is a nice young man who really is not looking for the additional stress in his life that this kind of person can bring.As the story goes on, Lacey does become quite successful and actually does open her own gallery that flourishes with her touch. It seems that Lacey may be about to lose everything from some illegal art dealings that have taken place in the past so now she must figure out what can be done so this does not happen.This was a pretty good story but one part that did create a bit of confusion for me was the narration. The book was supposedly narrated by Lacey's friend Daniel, but only a small portion of the book seemed to take on his voice. Most of the novel seemed to be told in third person to me, which I really don't have a problem with, but it just didn't seem to flow well as it bounced between the voice of Daniel and the third person narration.Besides my problem with the narration of the novel I did find some enjoyment of the story. Although I didn't love the book, I did enjoy the story overall and would definitely suggest it to those that are interested in the art world. I think I may have mentioned in the past that I am not a big 'lover of art', and that may have helped my appreciation of this book.
michaelbartley on LibraryThing 8 months ago
this novel is more about greed then art! However there is a lot about art and what is great art. reading this novel, I had the sense that steve martin was seeing his book made into a movie! Steve Martin does have talent as a writer and I think a love of art. I would have liked more discussion of art still a good read
MelissaAnneS on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Such an amzaing book, so beautifully executed with words expanding imagination.
KatKealy on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Not nearly as good as his other books, but parts of the story were very interesting. The way the story reltes to the art world and how all of that works in NYC was very interesting - especially since I have friends in that world. I'm sure they'd find this much more interesting than I did.
Quiltinfun06 on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Truly a disappointing read from one of my favorite authors Steve Martin. I guess to fully appreciate this book you would have to be interested in art, art history and all that it entails. Way too much art info for this read :(