An Object of Beauty

A Novel

Martin, Steve

Book - 2010
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
An Object of Beauty
Lacey Yeager takes New York City's art world by storm, charming men and women, old and young, rich and even richer with her magnetic charisma and liveliness and experiencing the highs and lows of the art world from the late 1990s into the present day.

Publisher: New York : Grand Central Pub., 2010
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0446573647
Branch Call Number: F MAR


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Sep 12, 2014
  • vholda225 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed two other books written by Steve Martin but this one just dragged a little bit. It's taken me a couple of weeks to get through it, partially because I only read on the bus and during my lunch breaks and also because there is less dialogue and too much description of what a person looks like or is wearing.

Aug 02, 2012
  • uncommonreader rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This book provided some mildly interesting comments on art. The characters' downfall is due to the economic context, not their individual failings.

Mar 05, 2012

Such a fun, easy read! My book selected "An Object of Beauty" and I could not have been more happy with the choice. I usually struggle finishing books within a one month window, but I finished this within a week because I found Martin's writing to be funny and sexy. I was not a huge fan of the ending, but would still recommend the book.

Jan 05, 2012
  • BPLNextBestAdults rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Steve Martin; comedian, actor, musician and now novelist! This is Steve Martin’s first full length book. He has written 2 novellas Shopgirl and The Pleasure of My Company, as well as his autobiography Born Standing Up. He is a skilled writer and is very knowledgeable about art.

Object of Beauty is written in voice of the narrator Daniel Chester French Franks, an arts journalist in New York City. It follows the career of his college friend, Lacey Yeager, beginning in the 1990s when she is a 20 something Art History graduate who has just landed her first job in the basement at Sotheby’s auction house. We follow the ups and down of Lacey’s career over a number of years and she gains more experience and tries to make some money with art. The New York City art world is undergoing great changes as it goes through good times, a recession and 9/11.

This is an entertaining read which gives the reader insight into the New York City art world. Included are 22 full colour reproductions of works which the story featured in the story including Le Mondaine by James Tissot and Flowers by Andy Warhol.

May 03, 2011
  • evachristina rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

If you're a lover of the art world, especially the buying/selling of art, this book may be more up your alley. For me, I couldn't get into the story. I felt too distant from the characters. I didn't care at all about the main character, Lacey. The plot skimmed through events like 9/11 and the stock market crash, when I feel the author could have ran with them and added a lot more interest and feeling to the story. It cared mostly about art, and less so about story/characters/flow of plot.

Apr 24, 2011
  • lilwordworm rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The simple, unadorned style of writing contrast the elaborate, extravagant subject of the world of fine art. It is well written but the plot reads like a bad teen novel, complete with fairly 2-D characters. As an novice to the world of high end art, I think the little pictures help draw me into that world, but still not enough to arrest me. Not brilliant but not bad for a summer read.

Feb 21, 2011
  • vickiz rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Steve Martin's airy, but not unintelligent, rather emotionless touch neither bogs down nor condescends to the reader, either about the rarified milieu in which the story is set or about the thoughts and feelings of the players in that milieu. (And no, the inclusion of small reproductions of works mentioned in the story are not Modern Art 101 condescension, either. They are helpful and elegant additions to the reading experience.) However, does the narrative distancing make the story bloodless, and therefore does the reader feel no connection to either story or characters? Apart from some wistful regret for Daniel and art collector Patrice Claire, both who seem to genuinely care for Lacey ... indeed, the story is rather emotionally disconnected from its characters. That said, it is still an informative exploration of a particular world at a particular time, digestible and sufficiently absorbing perhaps because it travels light.

In An Object of Beauty, it seems that the strongest feelings are not between people, but for the art, even if that fascination is not always the most fully articulated:

"Well, the water, to me, represents the earth and all the things that happen on the earth, reality. And the moonlight represents our dreams and our minds."
"And ..."
"And the reflection ... well, I guess the reflection represents art. It's what lies between our dreams and reality."

This light, elegant book will still entertain and even edify without much more in-depth reflection than that.

Feb 15, 2011
  • daymakerdave rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

This is the first book I've read by the legend of comedy. This book goes deep into the world of high-end art dealing in New York from the 90's to present. As an artist I found it fascinating but not exactly compelling. The characters are average and the plot isn't exactly riveting, but all in all if you are into art enough to read about it then you might this one worth picking up. Also there is some great insight into the New York art scene and the works behind it.

Feb 03, 2011
  • joyhuebert rated this: 5 stars out of 5.


Jan 31, 2011
  • BCJ rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Steve Martin is a very competent writer. I was disappointed by this work. For me, the story did not elicit a great deal of interest. The events unfold in a rather flat way, never generating an engaging momentum.

View All Comments


Add a Quote

Jul 28, 2011

The downtown men were tolerable because Lacey always viewed them as short term. The uptown men were intolerable because they were presenting themselves as long term. And there was always something fishy about them. She knew what a struggling artist was, she knew what a deejay was. But what was someone in finance? Her worst dates were those on which the other party tried to explain what he did, which was usually prefaced by "This is really boring, but..." and then the explanation would be reeled out in detail. Once, Lacey responded, "You lied when you said it was boring. You should have said it was beyond boring."


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.

Find it at PPL