Tag Archives: Art collecting

Excerpts from “We’ll Always Have Paris.” – Preface

Proudly presented from the www.writerssecrets.com E-Book Series

Excerpts from forth coming book:

“We’ll Always Have Paris.”  A story of wealth, obsessions, and the emperor’s ransom collected and dispersed by Christopher Forbes, connoisseur.

Preface

Do you remember the first auction you ever attended
and what happened that memorable day? I do. It took place
in Stronghurst, Illinois, a piddling River town you’ve lived
a comfortable life knowing nothing about until this moment;
unlikely to hear about it any time after.

But here on a sweltering summer day in 1957 or as near as
doesn’t matter, a day made intolerable by the near proximity
of Old Man River, the worldly effects of my paternal grandmother
were being auctioned. Great Grannie was rich by local standards
(Illinois farmland, the best on Earth and Oklahoma oil that ensured
a lifetime of beautiful mornings), and so the whole picayune
population turned out to see what they could get for a buck.

I bought a beautiful walnut side table usefully employed as a
rogue’s gallery for photos of Lant and Marshall worthies. I was
only 10 or 12 and had limited funds to acquire maximum goods.
My paper route (weekly pay of $4) provided most of the funds.

I might have had as much as $10 to conjure with. However with so
many items selling for two bits it was adequate. Adequate.

That’s pretty much how I described my available funds, never
excessive, never hopeless either. If I’d had more, I may have been
careless; while less might have killed my ambition and motivation.
But “adequate” was just right, my father urging me on in all ways
except for cash infusions. Being the rock-ribbed WASP that he
was; that was unthinkable.

I don’t have to guess about what I purchased that exciting day. The
walnut table, still proud when polished, is in my bedroom where the
flair is Empire. But I just cannot dispose of it. It would be like
smothering an old and dear friend.

Storage, an act of love.

When I left for Harvard, he packed my youthful purchases, along with so
many items I just couldn’t give to Good Will. And so for over 30 years the
items slept, until just the other day when I opened the boxes and snuffled
just a little, the contents of each meticulously noted in his perfect copper
plate hand.

Opening the boxes here in Cambridge was the tonic that brought Dad
back to immediate and vital life. There were, for instance, the ladies hats,
one chic cloche number in brown velour that ensured Great Grammie would
be the bee’s knees while staying cool with Coolidge, their kind of President.

Then there was the box of hatpins, up to a foot of thin, dangerous steel
topped off by vibrant glass baubles ingeniously applied. My father
asked why I wanted these beautiful objets d’art. Quick as boiled
asparagus, I returned my own question .Why had he purchased an
ancient blue bottle of Bromoseltzer for a dime? People inhabiting
auctions are odd and lovable. Hug me and find out. I’m a keeper.

St Tropez, L’Empereur, Love at first sight.

Do you believe in the greatest of romantic illusions, love at first
sight? I do… every connoisseur does… and very much to the point of
our story Kip Forbes does. Consider…

He was just 16, and en route to adventure in his father’s latest yacht,
“Highlander III”. St Tropez and la dolce far niente were the objective…
It was a Jerry Mungo moment, “In the summer time when the weather’s
hot….” (1970)  Love was in the air, or if not love at least an acute
indiscretion and memories for a lifetime.

Kismet.

He entered a small antiques shop the way we all do, with sore feet and
the possibility rather than the hope that there would be a certain something
you would know at once. In 1957 chanteuse Jane Morgan set this feeling
to music “It was fascination I know, and it may have ended there at the
start., just a passing glance, just a brief romance, and I might have gone
on my way empty hearted…” and so Kip experienced the gnawing feeling
of desire, of an object so tempting him, he had to save it, and to get it had
to persuade his father what a good investment the picture of Napoleon III
would be.

Connoisseurs are prone to use such arguments, saying whatever
needs to be said to acquire the object in question. What does strict truth
and precise morality have to do with beauty, history, and the thrill of
possession? And so Jean-Hippolyte Flandin’s imperial portrait came
to live chez Forbes for a half century, sold just the other day at the
Fontainebleau sale.

That picture seized the boy’s imagination far more than the usual
aspects of St. Tropez and launched a quest that, in the final analysis,
revived the Emperor’s reputation and that of la belle France.. Where
there had been a black hole in the center of French history, Kip Forbes
did what was necessary to revive and resurrect. When he shouted “Vive
la France” he meant it, and he had done everything to make it happen.

“Heureux qui comme Ulysse, a fait un beau voyage.”

Joachim du Bellay, 1558

Now it’s time to take the voyage and see the treasures built up for over
fifty years, now dispersed. Do this.

Click here  https://www.dropbox.com/s/x2hy57hl45xd8nm/Dr.%20Lant%27s%20interview%20with%20Christopher%20Forbes.mp4?dl=0

and listen to the spirited, fast, intelligent conversation between
Dr. Lant and Christopher Forbes. It is said of our benighted era that people
no longer talk to each other. These erudite gentlemen will deliver wit, wisdom,
good humor and information available nowhere else.

Christopher Forbes and Dr. Jeffrey Lant. Two connoisseurs in ebullient conversation

about life, money, collecting, and the joy of MORE!

http://writerssecrets.com/fresh-off-his-paris-auction-triumphs-christopher-forbes-opens-up-with-dr-lant-on-life-wealth-and-the-joys-of-being-one-of-the-greatest-art-collectors-on-earth/

Dr._Lant_and_Kip_small_textNote: For additional information, consult Kip’s smooth essay on his collection.
entitled “Catague Preface”, and you’ll gain more insight into the man and what
he was able to achieve, reminding a great nation just how valuable and
necessary saving objects and artifacts is. For this essay, go to osenat.com

Make sure and get a copy of Dr. Lant’s gloriously written memoir:

A Connoisseur’s Journey: Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy”

 

 

To see a Connoisseur, Dr. Jeffrey Lant in action

Go to: http://writerssecrets.com/a-connoisseurs-display/

Get a FREE Copy of “How to Be a Writer Who Makes Money, Flies High and Dazzles the Folks Back Home. Oh Yeah!” by Dr.Jeffrey Lant Get Your FREE Copy CLICK HERE

Copyright 2016

Jeffrey Lant Associates

All Rights Reserved

Chapter 2 continues… Excerpts from – “We’ll always have Paris.” A story of wealth, obsessions, and the emperor’s ransom collected and dispersed by Christopher Forbes, connoisseur.

Proudly presented from www.writerssecrets.com eBook Series

Excerpts from the forth coming E-Book – “We’ll always have Paris.”

A story of wealth, obsessions, and the emperor’s ransom collected
and dispersed by Christopher Forbes, connoisseur.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Chapter 2 continues.

First part at: http://writerssecrets.com/excerpts-from-well-always-have-paris-a-story-of-wealth-obsessions-and-the-emperors-ransom-collected-and-dispersed-by-christopher-forbes-connoisseur/

Selling such documents is an Osenat specialty, and hence just right for Kip
whose intense interest in autograph documents mirrors that of father, brother,
grandfather, world without end, amen, amen.

These discerning people have assembled (and in due course dispersed) major
collections of American and British history, such as their stunning collection of
items pertaining to Sir Winston Churchill. As such one Forbes or another
has acquired, cherished, and sold more valuable documents than anyone.

Kip told me his favorite was the letter sent by Albert Einstein to President
Franklin Roosevelt advising about the imminent availability of the first atomic
bomb and its impact upon our planet; an important letter indeed.

To give you an idea of what this means to Kip, here are a few selections
from what he sold the first day his treasures on paper went on the block.

Item: The signed marriage certificate of Josephine de Beauharnais and
Napoleon (1804) witnessed by Napoleon’s uncle Cardinal Fesch. Given
the importance of this marriage, the importance of this document can
hardly be overstated. It was wily Josephine’s gambit to stay the wife,
the queen, the empress. It failed, but it made clear the lady was a
fighter.

Item: Intimate correspondence from Napoleon’s mother Letizia (the “veuve
Bonaparte”) upon the death of her husband (1786)

Item: A letter of April 1808 from Napoleon’s brother Louis, King of Holland,
upon the birth of the child who became Napoleon III. And a later letter
(1809) in which he announces his separation from Hortense, Napoleon’s
step daughter.

There are hundreds and hundreds of these documents from the associated
imperial princes, highnesses, serene princesses, crown princes, empresses,
grand dukes, imperial cousins, imperial aunts and uncles, marshals of the
empire, victorious and bumbling; archdukes, dukes of the old regime and dukes
of the imperial regime who replaced them for a spell, only to be replaced
themselves in short order. As these voluminous papers make clear, it was
the preeminent age of titles and decorations, and woe upon you if you made
any error, any error at all.

What Kip Forbes has collected (as the government of France came to
see by their own thorough scrutiny of these and all the other documents)
is formidable, brilliant, splendid. The most cursory of readings gives us
profound insights into the project called Empire.

First of all, whether you were pro Napoleon or not (and many played both
ends of that field) you were kept busy scribbling. All governments, all regimes
are full of people who scheme with grit and determination. That is the nature of
all those who want a piece of the pie, then another, justifying each step by
renewed and interminable scribbling.

Every person in the Napoleonic regimes, seeing how far others just like them
had risen through dint of truth at one moment and denial the next, spent every
waking moment in intrigues. Kip’s fifty years of assiduity, collection and
research make it clear just how much chicanery was going on at all times,
how shamelessly, motives changing as partners changed and then, more
shamelessly still, changed yet again, each move chronicled by quill, by a
splash of ink carried on horseback to its own personal destiny, exalted or
ignominious.

Oh, Kip, how I envy you all those years alone in a favorite place, ensconced
of an evening with a cast of characters, unsavory, unmatched in any work
of fiction anywhere; yours, all yours for so very many happy hours.

It is easy to see, my friend, why you selected the bombastic Bonapartes and
their gimcrack regimes. They never stopped conniving and so never stopped
writing about their audacious plans to remake the world; lead by a rogue,
a thief, an untrammeled visionary leader who did not admit impossibilities,
much less give in to them.

Yes, they were rogues, nary a person of principle or honor among the lot of
them, every nation, every dynasty to be milked and discarded for the benefit
of a single family, every single one a scoundrel, for all the silk, satin, perfume
and swagger they used to disguise what they were about.

“Those were the days my friend. We thought they’d never end.
We’d sing and dance forever and a day/ We’d live the life we’d choose
We’d fight and never lose/ For we were young and sure to have our way.”
(Mary Hopkins,1968)

“Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair.”

But of course, these agile, prevaricating, determined makers of
empire, fell victim to just four words my own father wielded with a
skill challenging Excalibur’s. “This too shall pass”. And so it did,
whether it was bounteous and awesome… or whether it was
painful and mournful heartbreak.

It all passed. Some went into the fires of holocaust… some was
swept away by the contrary winds of destiny. Some was eaten by
rats and other fastidious menaces. Some were damaged beyond
repair by waters or deliberately destroyed by those who thought their
prejudices a better future; truth being the last of their objectives.

“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my works, ye mighty and despair.
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

(Percy Bysse Shelley, 1818).

This, however, is not yet the fate of the documents and
artifacts which punctilious Kip devoted far more than half
his life gathering, tending and always remembering, a
monument to his considerable energies, resources and what
is so evident throughout the stylish catalogs, and his own insightful
preface. It is all there, his respect, his concern, and his love.

Yes, it is this love, in all its works, for which we must thank you.
For this love has kept the lone and level sands far away though
that will, his stewardship laid down, now be the job of others for
their time. Chevalier Forbes, sans peur et sans reproche, has
set them the highest possible standard; his rise to Officier of
the Legion of Honor recognizing and thanking him for that, and
rightly so.

The Great Chain

Now let us take this man of resolution, his critical “eye”, and a tenacity
that never flagged and link him in the Great Chain of Americans who did
not just like, respect and esteem Paris and toute la France, but who were,
and this is much more difficult to achieve, esteemed and venerated by Paris
and toute la France. It is an honor greater than any red rosette and far,
far more difficult to achieve.

It starts with Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), signer of the Declaration
of Independence, whose utilitarian brain and its useful manifestations
inspired the admiration of the Court of Louis XVI, and particularly its ladies,
who made his crotchets, yes even turkeys and coon skin caps, their crotchets.

Thomas Jefferson, minister to France (1784), was next. He was young,
elegant, not just the purveyor of beautiful language but able to make that
language the beacon for all people and all time, and to do so without hatred,
rancor or murderous intent. He was the High Priest of Freedom and Liberty
and the ancien regime looked to him for a way out of their tangled affairs.

There was a gap after Jefferson, unfilled for over a century until “Fighting Jack”
Pershing immortalized himself in just 4 words, “Lafayette, we are here”, thus
succinctly informing the beleaguered French nation that it now had, first in the
American Expeditionary Force, a great and generous friend, a friend who would
fight and bleed and die for them,without barriers, without surcease, without
regret, without cavil. Vive la France!

Lindbergh and Baker

The ‘twenties were apples and cream for the so-called “Lost Generation”‘;
Americans who claimed Paris as their own, making sure everyone who was
anyone knew not only they were not lost, but had found everything they needed
to scandalize any Americans within media distance while affronting
every Frenchman near or far. They needed no more notoriety. A spanking
was much more called for.

The French tolerated them, then lost patience with the braggarts.
No love-in for the likes of Gertrude Stein, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest
Hemingway et al. In due course they got rich, they got famous, but they
were never loved, least of all in the France they gobbled and devoured
whilst complaining the while, crocodile tears de rigueur and abundant.

Then a boy named Lindbergh, Charles A. Lindbergh and a girl named
Baker, Josephine Baker captured the jaundiced eye and affection of
post Great War France.

Lindbergh was a strapping, movie star handsome Midwestern boy who
in 1927 hopped the Atlantic in a one-seat monoplane named  “The Spirit
of St Louis”, its sole cargo the highest octane American pride, and just one
passenger, a no longer common house fly, iridescent stowaway, showing
millions what was possible beyond the blue horizon.  .

Then there was the divine Josephine whose lithe ebony flesh provided the
perfect back drop for gyrations no good woman could ever know, much less
do. She, like Lindbergh, was the Spirit of St. Louis, too, but hers stemmed
from the filth and stench of the midden from whence she emerged clean
enough and driven enough to capture the imagination of the gratin of Paris,
who wanted to dissipate each moment in impossible dance steps and
behaviors supposedly from the Dark Continent, actually derived from
segregated St. Louis. Her fruit of choice was bananas, for wearing,
not eating. She needed a spanking, too, got it and smiled. Ou la la.

They both rose to being media icons, both (some times) as rich as Croesus,
a factor which every Frenchman knows is tres bien, such a relief for the most
mercenary nation on Earth. The French knew the value of a franc They wanted
their demigods to know, too.

“I am the man who…”

Then there was Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1929-1994), not merely a
First Lady but an international fashion plate, perfectly coiffed, perfectly
scented, a shimmering vision who charmed the crusty Cross of Lorraine,
M. le General De Gaulle in French, no less; admittedly it was of the
school girl variety, but it was better than in Quebec. She was a francophone,
and that was enough. Her sex appeal and “Noli me tangere” chic made
old man De Gaulle gasp. Madame de Pompadour might have tutored her.
She was that good.

John F. Kennedy knew a good political thing when he saw it. And so upon
returning home from the vast crowds, he turned the incident into smooth history
by saying,” I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris.” A
frisson of bliss went through Camelot that moment. Not since Lafayette had
kissed Martha Washington’s hand when they both lived in Cambridge, right down
the street from me….

The Penultimate. Jerry Lewis (born 1926).

The announcement of the latest honoree in the Great Chain is coming
up in just a minute or two, but first I must attempt to explain the penultimate
winner and why he has been tapped for eternity.

This person, I admit, is a puzzle to me, just as his vast film repertoire
has been a puzzle. However, I am a commentator, and so I must comment.

Here’s the long and the short of it; I find Jerry Lewis’ oeuvre painful to watch
and funny only by accident. But here’s the biggest puzzle of all: why do the
French admire his unrelenting slapstick so, right up to and including making
him Chevalier of the Legion of Honor? It is, remember, their highest award.

It remains inexplicable to me, the award for losing control of your body and
causing the world to explode in hilarity at your expense. It leaves me cold,
but not the French, thereby proving not only that the very rich are different
from you and me, but that Jerry Lewis’ French fans are, too.

I remind you of this pertinent observation: given world enough and time, a
cadre of monkeys with typewriters can and will produce the works of
Shakespeare. By the same token, given enough of Jerry Lewis’ sophomoric
pratfalls at least one is certain to make even the most fastidious and
censorious laugh, maybe even me.

But why decorate Mr. Lewis for his ability to fall down stairs, walk into
swinging doors the wrong way, or take a cream pie in the puss at any hour,
at any place. He deserved nothing but groans for such nonsense. But for his
many years as chairman of the Labor Day Telethon for the  Muscular
Dystropy Association (1950-2011) raising billions, he deserved the highest
recognition from every nation.

“Le jour de gloire est arrive.”

Now it is time to add a new honoree to the short and worthy list of
those who have gone before. It is time to add Christopher “Kip”
Forbes.

He is not being honored for his wit, his charm, or his intellect, though
each of these items in such abundance has its place in achieving
the final result.

Instead he has been elevated because he has helped save a major
period in the history of France, the period of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte
(1808-1873) Prince, Prince-President, Emperor, now exhumed by Kip.

No one needed to tell Kip what to do or how to do it. He went on as he
began, promising nothing, saying little, getting on with his important work.
without bombast or fanfare. For half a century, he has used his informed
judgement to help strengthen not just his magnificent collection but the
nation, not least by giving that nation and its people over 40 lots, lots
given which he might so easily have sold. He gave them to France.
Lafayette, we are indeed here yet again. Let the revels begin…

I have selected Offenbach’s 1867 frothy masterpiece “La Duchesse de
Gerolstein” to dance us to our conclusion. Find it in any search engine,
and let its unexampled overture break over us in joy and happiness. Here
we are in the company of civilized people , their civilized emperor
Napoleon III, and the civilized gentleman who rediscovered them for the
benefit of all, Kip Forbes.
Get a FREE Copy of “How to Be a Writer Who Makes Money, Flies High and Dazzles the Folks Back Home. Oh Yeah!” by Dr.Jeffrey Lant Get Your FREE Copy CLICK HERE

George Quacker Production

Div. Jeffrey Lant Associates

All Rights Reserved

Christopher (“Kip”) Forbes Opens Up With Dr. Lant On Life, Wealth, and the Joys of Being One of the Greatest Art Collectors on Earth.

Dr._Lant_and_Kip_small_textHere’s one presentation you will never forget!

Christopher Forbes and Dr. Jeffrey Lant. Two connoisseurs in ebullient conversation about life, money, collecting, and the joy of MORE!

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The very rich are different from you
and me”… Come see for yourself.

Read about it in Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s latest book “We’ll always have Paris.”: A story of wealth, obsessions, and the emperor’s ransom collected and dispersed by Christopher Forbes, connoisseur at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01E0ZG9SW#nav-subnav

 

Go to:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/x2hy57hl45xd8nm/Dr.%20Lant%27s%20interview%20with%20Christopher%20Forbes.mp4?dl=0
when your host Dr. Jeffrey Lant,  internationally known author
and commentator, goes toe-to-toe with plutocratic, billionaire
Christopher (“Kip”) Forbes, Vice Chairman of Forbes Publishing
company, whose appearance reminds us “living well is the best
revenge.”.

Kip is the Maecenas of our drab, mediocre, second rate days.
(In case your Roman history is rusty, the good Maecenas has come
down from the time of Octavius Caesar as a byword for a wealthy,
generous and enlightened patron of the arts… and so say all of us
of Kip.

Motor cycle hot shot.

I first became aware of Kip’s joyful family when I was a student at
Harvard. Father Malcolm (1919-1990) was a motorcycle fanatic. He was
indeed the leader of the pack as they gathered at the end of Holyoke
Street where I resided in what were credited as the apartment of
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s valet. With this splashy opening le tout
Harvard Square knew when this impresario, this imp of the unpredictable
was in town. Here was a man who knew how to generate buzz, lots
of buzz, and keep ’em smiling, sugar.

Like father…

I advise my students that if they want a guarantee they’ll be rich
and comfy they should carefully select just the right parents,
and here Malcolm’s two sons (Steve, born 1947 and Christopher,
born 1950) showed  they got the message.

Daddy was rich, granddaddy (a Scottish emigrant with a slew of relations
in the noble Clan Forbes) was rich… get the picture? The key
wasn’t just making money, it was having fun while keeping what
they got and getting more.

Neither for the father nor the sons was wealth a matter of grim drudgery
and punishing responsibilities. They knew that wealth must mean
happiness or its cost is too high. Wealth was never their master; always
their servant. To be around a Forbes is to feel joy and experience their
kindness in sharing. They resurrect in themselves the penetrating phrase
“Noblesse oblige”, an aspect of wealth no wealthy person can afford to
forget or postpone, even if what can be given is no more than the widow’s
mite.

“Ars longa. Vita brevis.” Kip, the Emperor, and high collecting adventure.

My challenge now is to get you to attend my very special tete a tete
with Kip. Knowing him as I do I can promise you it will deliver some of
the most enlightening moments of your life, during which you will see
how Kip salvaged the tarnished reputation of the “forgotten” emperor
Napoleon the Third (reigned 1852-1870) by ordering four days of
non-stop auctioneering at the highest and most ostentatious level’; in
other words pure Forbes and as such followed with breathless interest
by connoisseurs worldwide. Come to the program and add yourself to their
informed ranks!

Useful facts.

Christopher Forbes spills the beans on life, lore, love and lavish living in
conversation with Dr. Jeffrey Lant.

Go to: https://www.dropbox.com/s/x2hy57hl45xd8nm/Dr.%20Lant%27s%20interview%20with%20Christopher%20Forbes.mp4?dl=0

then check out the Forbes auction March 5, 6 & April 9. For catalogs of the over 1,300 items featured
go to www.osenat.com Each of the four catalogs commences with
fascinating details about  the Forbes, Kip, and his stupendous
imperial collection, now available to you.

For general information go to www.writerssecrets.com where you
can find the video of this program after it is recorded. While
there, check out Dr. Lant’s new memoirs, “The Connoisseur’s Journey,
Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit discernment, pluck and joy.”



George J. Quaker Production

Div.Jeffrey Lant Associates

All Rights Reserved

 

What Happens When Two Connoisseurs, Rich and Handsome, Come Together? Tune In and Find Out

An event you will never forget.

Two connoisseurs in ebullient conversation about life, money, collecting, and the joy of MORE!

 

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The really rich are different from you

and me”… Come see for yourself on Thursday, March 24, 2pm ET

Go to: http://www.TheLiveBusinessCenter.com/?id=27538

when your host Dr. Jeffrey Lant,  internationally known author

and commentator, goes toe-to-toe with plutocratic, billionaire

whose appearance reminds us “living well is the best revenge.”.

 

Kip is the Maecenas of our dull as dishwater days. (In case your

Roman history is rusty, the good Maecenas has come down from

the time of Octavius Caesar as a byword for a wealthy, generous

and enlightened patron of the arts… and so say all of us.

 

Motor cycle hot shot.

 

I first became aware of Kip’s joyful family when I was a student at
Harvard. Father Malcolm (1919-1990) was a motorcycle fanatic. He was
indeed the leader of the pack as they gathered at the end of Holyoke
Street where I resided in what were credited as the apartment of
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s valet. With this splashy opening le tout
Harvard Square knew when this impresario imp of the unpredictable
was in town. Here was a man who knew how to generate buzz, lots
of buzz, and keep ’em smiling, sugar.

Like father…

I advise my students that if they want a guarantee they’ll be rich
and comfy they should carefully select just the right parents,
and here Malcolm’s two sons (Steve, born 1947 and Christopher,
born (    ) showed  they got the message.

Daddy was rich, granddaddy (a Scottish emigrant with a slew of relations
in the noble Clan Forbes) was rich… get the picture? The key
wasn’t just making money, it was having fun while keeping what
they got and getting more.

Not for the father nor the sons was wealth a matter of grim drudgery
and punishing responsibilities. They knew that wealth must mean
happiness or its cost is too high. Wealth was never their master; always
their servant. To be around a Forbes is to feel  joy and experience their
kindness in sharing. They resurrect a penetrating phrase “Noblesse oblige”,
an aspect of wealth no wealthy person can afford to forget or postpone,
even if what can be given is no more than the widow’s mite..

“Ars longa. Vita brevis.”

 

See more of Connoisseur’s in action at: http://writerssecrets.com/a-connoisseurs-display/

Check out

A Connoisseur’s Journey: Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy”

A multi-awards winning, gloriously written and unique memoir by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Available at: http://writerssecrets.co/products/a-connoisseurs-journey-being-the-artful-memoirs-of-a-man-of-wit-discernment-pluck-and-joy

Div. Jeffrey Lant Associates, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

‘You’re lovely, absolutely lovely.’ Connoisseurs, the objects of their desire, the gnawing obsession.

Proudly presented from www.writerssecrets.com Article Series.

by Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Author’s program note. One of the loveliest songs ever written, short though it is, was composed by Stephen Sondheim for his 1962 musical “A funny thing happened on the way to the forum.” It’s called “Lovely”, and he wrote both book and music.

The song only lasts for 2 minutes and 28 captivating seconds… but once you’ve heard it even a single time it will circulate throughout your brain for life. It’s the kind of song that forces you to create situations where you can sing it, use it. For instance, I have recommended singing it to your Significant Other the very minute you come home this evening… always accompanying your admittedly croaky voice with flowers, candies, and ardent declarations delivered on one arthritic knee. That Significant Other will no doubt gibe, giggle, and give every indication of busting a gut laughing, but they’ll be touched to the core. And Sondheim, a master in every way, wrote it for just that.

Go now to any search engine and let the music frolic around you. You cannot be anything other than happy, for you see you are the person Songheim celebrated in this tune…

… You that is and every object desired by every single connoisseur and collector on earth. And that, given the incessant collectors we are, is just about everyone.

“You’re lovely”.

I am what is called a connoisseur, that is a master of matters artistic and of taste… the kind of person who can say with credibility of any object on earth just what is, and even more important, what is not of value to civilization. It is back breaking work, what with millions of artifacts to find, subject to minute scrutiny, and, the object passing the most stringent of tests, arranging the contortions, financial and otherwise, which lead to acquisition and a lifetime of unadulterated love (with dollops of shrewdness and cleverness to sweeten the mix.)

This process, for me, begins with a catalog from any of the great auction houses on earth… with names like Sothebys! Christie’s! The Dorotheum! Et al, great and small. These produce the siren songs that capture my attention and cause me endless nights of torment and insistent cogitation… these are the places, the very holiest of holies for connoisseurs, that wreck havoc in the minds and pocket books of even the most well heeled on earth. And of course these long-standing institutions with instantly recognizable names (at least to connoisseurs) are expert at catching their fish (that would be you and me, dear friend) and keeping them on their gilded hook c. 1250 A.D. once the property of the Queen of Bohemia. Look at yourself in the mirror and remember: you are about to go fishing in the most teeming waters on earth where your expertise will be tested against the very best… whose skills, wiles, courtesies and insights have been honed over centuries… all designed to capture you… the unceasing object of their potent desires.

Catalogs you pay for, versus catalogs hand endorsed and wafted to you.

When I began collecting so many years ago, the Internet was not dreamed of, much less a universal factor of life. And so collectors like me had to rely on the sales catalogs produced by the many divisions of the major houses. If you have never seen such a catalog you will not understand that these in no way resemble the short and flimsy cousins produced by, say, companies selling roasted meats. No indeed. These companies share a word… but nothing more. For the auction house catalogs are nothing short of the erudite and lavishly photographed “coffee table” books of yore, with only one difference: in these catalogs every single thing is for sale, could be yours, and which you are allowed, indeed encouraged to want… fervently, wildly, devotedly. Yes anything, everything could be yours… for a price.

In the beginning of course, when these long-established houses (with the grandest dating from the 18th century) do not know you, you must pay for the privilege of getting a catalog. And, as if to warn you about what is to follow, even these catalogs are steeply priced, at $50 or more each.

But when you are that all-important entity — a demonstrated connoisseur — you may request any catalog for free… or, when you are more well-known, too, specialists will send you their latest, a card enclosed with their compliments. One such specialist so beguiled yesterday sent me the latest sales catalog from Sotheby’s Amsterdam, for they have sales from noble and royal houses which beguile me, and regularly seduce me from the thrifty ways of my plain-living, luxury abhoring Puritan ancestors. They look down on me now with disdain and disapproval… But that is their problem, not mine.

“I’m lovely. All I am is lovely.”

No one can aspire to being a connoisseur without the “eye”; that is the practiced ability to perceive, not just to see, an item. This is the work of a lifetime… for, you see, ages previous to ours did not have just or only masters; there were many lackluster crafts people… and, such is fate… they often survived where the superior productions of their more gifted brethren may not. Yes, Fate is fickle that way.

To develop your eye requires incessant labor… the willingness, indeed the desire, or better yet, the obsession… to examine, scrutinize, and, at all times, improve your ability to know what you are looking at, and why it either is or is not worthy of… you. This all starts when an item you see in a sales catalog, or on the Internet, looks at you (for the object most assuredly selects you, as much as being selected by you)… when, I say, that item looks at you and says without any modesty at all… “I’m lovely. All I am is lovely. Lovely is the one thing I can do…”

But is this claim true… or merely a ruse… to ensnare you? This is where you must have help… or you are on the way to a very expensive mistake, a mistake which is almost always avoidable if you do your homework; which entails finding, listening to, and following the advice of experts who have spent a lifetime perfecting skills and knowledge you don’t have but which you desperately need right now. Such experts can be acquired, first, from the auction houses themselves and then by referral from the auction houses.

Direct, candid, honest to a fault.

One of the most gratifying and unexpected things you’ll learn as you develop as a connoisseur is the honor and honesty of experts. Their candor is a by-word and rare in our world of mendacity and practiced deceits. In short they tell the truth. And no matter how thoroughly you mature as a connoisseur you will always rely on it… as I do. My chief support is London-based Simon Gillespie, conservator of paintings, friend, goad, willing ear, magnificent eye. Sometimes he brings possible acquisitions to me; sometimes I to him. In the case of the striking floral still life pictured above, by Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer (1636-1699) it was, first, my find; then after Simon’s review, very much his as well. The song sung by this lovely painting by one of the greatest masters, had not been sung in vane. I had taken the bait… as how could I not… for I already knew the man and his work; one of his magnificent ouevres was mine already, hung here to enliven the gray winter days of Cambridge… and never anything other than winsome.

Thus the duet.

Each object, every artifact which could be collected must sing out about its merits, particularly when those merits are not immediately apparent and only as a result of some master conservator’s ministrations, the work of a Simon Gillespie, absolutely essential to the long-term value and preservation, for such necessary experts see below the damages, scarred surfaces and problems which accrue in these objects over time — and these were immense and challenging in the new Monnoyer. In short, they see the “lovely” in items anything but. And the lucky ones (for they are lucky indeed) are snapped up (often at bargain prices), about to be returned to their original condition, a thing of beauty, a joy forever.

And it is the connoisseur who makes that decision (always after soliciting the best advice) and makes the necessary investment of time, money, patience, and belief. And who then is more than qualified to sing back to the object of his affection these words by Sondheim:

“You’re lovely, Absolutely lovely. Who’d believe the loveliness of you?”

I would. I did. And now it is mine, “Radiant as in some dream come true.”

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About the Author

Dr. Jeffrey Lant is known worldwide. He started in the media business when he was 5 years old, a Kindergartner in Downers Grove, Illinois, publishing his first newspaper article. Since then Dr. Lant has earned four college degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities, quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 20 books, thousands of articles and been a welcome guest on hundreds of radio and television programs. He has founded several successful corporations and businesses including his latest at …writerssecrets.com

 

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