Tag Archives: Art Connoisseurs

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.


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.


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!


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

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

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”

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

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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 E-Book Series

“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

Excerpts from Chapter 2

I didn’t know that Kip Forbes was selling the work of a lifetime
until the hefty plum colored catalogs (2) arrived and, in an instant,
maybe less, left me to ogle night and day, you are the one; in
the roaring traffic’s boom; in the silence of my lonely room, with
apologies to Cole Porter. I lugged them everywhere.

As soon as I dug in, I knew all my worthy and well-meant promises
to “go slow, there wlll be other auctions” went out the window, as they had gone out so often before. This is what happens with connoisseurs.
We mean well but we are putty in the hands of the particular objects
of our affection. We mean well, but that, when decisions must be
made, means nothing. Don’t scold us for our acquisitive dispositions. It could happen to you.

We can’t help ourselves. In for a penny, in for a pound, or a whole lot
more. We ought to have a help group entitled “,
Anonymous,” but it wouldn’t do any good. Even if we were shackled
by Houdini, we’d find a way out. Others may like a thing, but we connoisseurs are obsessed, a feeling we try to disguise, never to admit upon pain of death.

My heart sinks.

I noticed right away that Christopher’s trove was being auctioned off
by Osenat, the Peck’s Bad Boy (1907) of auction houses. They often
snag the best Empire artifacts, from important documents and autographs to over-the-top fauteuils and hard-to-find encoignures; reasonably estimated and so close the deal that justifies exceeding your limit. Oh, if only the story ended there. But it doesn’t.

For example, try asking them for a condition report, as I do with
despair because Osenat seems incapable of providing this necessary and timely intelligence, absolutely necessary in the determination to  proceed, or not.

I email and say, “Please send me a condition report for such and
such a lot.” In my early dealings with Osenat I was so naive as to
expect a precise and helpful response. Silly me. So, I ask again
and again and again; all to no avail and much exasperation. Take
the matter of the royal and imperial photographs available in
abundance thanks to Kip’s ardor and persistence.

Now, I happen to have an extensive collection of such photos,
nearly all autographed and as such exceedingly rare. I add to it
whenever such items come up, though I admit the signed photo
of Alexis Romanov (1904-1918), the last Tsarevich of a doomed
and tragic dynasty, was at $50,000 a bit steep.

Despite numerous requests to tell me which photos were autographed by their subjects, yes, despite my dogged efforts I never did get a response. This is the Osenat way, and it is most irritating. However, it gets even worse….

To make telephone bidding work, it is necessary for the bidder, the
Osenat representative transmitting the bids, and the auctioneer
to be in perfect sync. However here, too, Osenat stumbles. In one
famous instance (of several) the auctioneer was simply not paying

As a result a pair of the most stunning Empire pedestals in verde
mare marble were sold to a lucky Russian lady, not to me. Hell
hath no fury as a connoisseur slighted. It took me over ten years
to get my hands on them. They adorn the Blue Room where I am
writing you now.

I have never seen a pair with such chic and panache, and have still
not forgiven M. Osenat for keeping me from them for an infuriating

The same thing happened in the Forbes sale. There was an impressive photograph of Prince “Plon-Plon”, otherwise Prince Napoleon Bonaparte,(1822-1891), one of history’s most unattractive characters. He didn’t matter much so long as Napoleon III’s only son “LuLu” was alive. He wasn’t called the Prince Imperial for nothing.

However, once he was killed by Zulus (1879), Plon-Plon stepped forward as the Number I reason why the Bonapartes and their post 1870 chances of restoration ended with the thrust of an assegai.

He was detestable was Plon-Plon. Of course, I had to have him in my
collection where imperial princes of any dynasty trump all. Kip had two Plon-Plons. I “owned” one for a week until I inquired after my bill and was told “my” treasure was sold the next day to a luckier punter than me . This is all too typical of my checkered experience with Osenat.

Just one more finger pointing…

The first two days of the Forbes sale took place March 5 and March 6, 2016.
Instead of numbering all the items sequentially they numbered each catalog from 1 thus creating some serious muddle, especially for collectors like me who always go over each item with our own advisors, the trusted folk who work for me, not the auction house. I never imagined some of them knew such  indigo lingo as I heard because of this needless error. Thus did Osenat make clear they are still not ready for prime time and a worldwide clientele.

So why, then, did Kip Forbes bestow his golden patronage on such a
place? As he told me, it was because the larger and more well known
auction houses would not have taken the whole collection, over 1300 items,  thus declining the hundreds of documents.

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.

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/

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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

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‘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.”

Your comments on this article are invited, post your comments below.

See a Connoisseur in action at: http://writerssecrets.com/a-connoisseurs-display/

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


His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” have garnered five prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” A good read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now and get a copy of his memoir at http://writerssecrets.co


His new model at Writers Secrets.com helps people to get their messages and stories out to the world! Find out more at: http://writerssecrets.com

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

A Connoisseur in Action

red_room_panoramicDr. Lant’s glorious red room which houses his marvelous collection as told about in his memoirs “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

First Place in category at The GREAT SOUTHEAST BOOK FESTIVAL


WINNER: A Connisseur’s Journey – Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Great Southwest Book Festival, March, 2016

Sole winner in the category


WINNER: A Connoisseur’s Journey – Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Great Northwest Book Festival, March, 2016


WINNER: Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers – Mathias B. Freese

RUNNER-UP: A Connoisseur’s Journey – Dr. Jeffrey Lant

Awarded FIRST in Class at Southern California Book Festival.

SECOND in Class at the Great Midwest Book Festival.

THIRD in Class at the London (England) Book Festival.

THIRD in Class at the New England Book Fare.

Dr. Lant also was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award with a focus on “A Connoisseur’s Journey” with this citation.

“Dr. Jeffrey Lant. On behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I congratulate you on the release of your Memoir, ‘A Connoisseur’s Journey’. Your work is a groundbreaking experiment into the use of musical citations in literature, adding depth and nuance to the reading experience.”

(signed) Charles D. Baker, Governor and Karyn E.Polito, Lieutenant Governor

Preface of “A Connoisseur’s Journey” by Dr. Jeffrey Lant –

This is my twentieth book, but only the first of my memoirs. Over the course of my long connection with books, the discovery, the reading, the writing, the rewriting and rereading I have come across many volumes of memoirs, some glorious and gloriously written, some so forgettable that you cannot remember the author even a moment after putting the dreary pages down, vowing to avoid him like the plague forever after. However I, dear reader, shall give you what you want in a memoir… humor, indiscretion, secrets, stories of the rich and famous, stories about places and situations you’ve longed to visit and enjoy. You will learn much in theleast demanding of ways… and feel more and more intelligent as you read.


You will be in the hands of a man of learning, privilege, and audacity, who has been there, done that, and lived to write the tale. There is nothing fair or objective in what you’re about to read. Nor should there be. For a memoir is all about you, your life, your point of view, your unique journey wherever on Earth and in whatever way you choose to make it. And if some — even you! — cavil or object to even a single word or sentiment, why then write your own memoirs, for the genre is open to all.

Get your copy here: http://writerssecrets.com/memoir-creation-2/

 Watch for Extensions coming to “A Connoisseur’s Journey” soon
In the meantime dive into Dr. Lant’s new series

“Treasures From The Lant Collection: Dr. Jeffrey Lant, Founder.”

Find the whole series at  Dr. Jeffrey Lant’s Author Page at Author Central with all his latest books, events and blog posts.

Go to: http://www.amazon.com/author/jeffreylant/

Dr._Lant_and_Kip_Combined_framedTune in for 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. Recorded live at Writers Secrets Live Center: http://www.TheLiveBusinessCenter.com/?id=27538

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

when your host Dr. Jeffrey Lant,  internationally known authorand 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.”.

Every Collector who ever lived would KILL to be part of THIS Epic Event!

Tune in for Dr. Lant, the art connoisseur – see this connoisseur in action as he is unpacking and viewing his newly restored art-pieces for the very first time, the latest additions to his collection.


Go to: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ycf1ljc3zzldk72/Dr.%20Lant%27s%20latest%20aquisitions%20of%20art%20and%20artifacts.mp4?dl=0

See Snippets Caught of “A Connoisseur’s Journey – Being the Artful Memoirs of a Man of Wit, Discernment, Pluck and Joy” in the Making


Dr. Lant is at ease, at home in his Red Drawing Room as you will see in the video of his special reading of the article below:



In the Red Drawing Room, June 14, 2013…… At ease, at home, all thoughts of you.

Author’s program note. When was the last time you ensconced yourself in a favorite space and wrote a letter with your own hand, from the heart to a friend long distant, unseen perhaps for years, but still fondly remembered, loved, a letter which confided all, withheld nothing, touched every emotion, and above all allowed the bliss of deep remembrance, all pretense gone, just you and your dear correspondent, a joyful connection so important to be renewed, too important to hurry.

I am writing such a letter here, now, each word to be savored, no word rushed, each one carefully selected to revive a precious friendship, so important, so cherished, a connection I cannot lose, lest I lose part of myself, for memories of you, of us, are the finest memories of all … and I want them, all of them for here is love, and love I must have, or be but a fraction of a man.

Thus I am spending this evening in a special place, with you, a special person, my friend, the only requirement is for sweet sincerity, for we have known each other too long and with such intimacy of expression and purpose to proffer anything else, and as our memories are vital, so must they be honest and true, as I pledge mine shall surely be.

The sound.

The music I have selected to caress us is graceful, elegant, written sharply at knife point by the most fastidious of masters, no superfluous note, annointed by the most discerning of monarchs to enhance his court, the grandest and most civilized on Earth.

It is Couperin, Francois Couperin, the Grand Couperin (1668-1733), composer, teacher, harpsichordist, court organist to Louis XIV with the precise title “ordinaire de la musique de la chambre du Roi”. Tonight he plays for us, “Les Barricades Myste’rieuses”, “Les Concerts Royaux,” “Le Parnasse, ou L’apothe’ose de Corelli.” Find them now in any search engine, close your eyes. We are together again, at last, just the two of us, the years erased, a memorable evening at hand, to the deep satisfaction of us both.

Pray, dear friend, walk in… for no one is more welcome here than you, and we have so much to recall…. and not an affecting moment to lose.

7:42 p.m. in the Red Drawing Room.

It is the hour when there is beauty within and beauty without. The rains have ceased, outside there is deep, lush, lavish green, splashed with dazzling sunlight, the more radiant because destined to be so soon gone. It is pastoral, bucolic, verdant to excess. The shutters are open, the barest breeze stirs the air. It is quite perfect… quiet, serene, the mood enhanced by the courtly rhythms of Couperin whose every well considered note improves even perfection.

This is the scene moving towards oblivion, soon to be a gracious memory. And then that sun is gone, the shutters closed, the night at hand, as we turn inward, to the Red Drawing Room and to each other, joyous, complete, where we most wish to be, together, in soul, in mind, in heart. And we are happy…. alone in  a world of our constructing and unfettered imagination.

“Too much with us ,late and soon.” (Wordsworth)

We like to think, may actually believe, and are quick to say that ours is the most anxious, harassed and pressured generation ever, as if that perverse distinction was a merit badge. Perhaps. However as I scrutinize the Red Drawing Room, first the pictures, then the signed photographs I must disagree with this characteristically egotistical assessment of my peers.

There are seven Old Masters in the Red Drawing Room, each featuring a single individual contorted by life and life’s exigencies. Behold the stately and elegant picture of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha by L.F. Doell, a painter of Germanic precision whose meticulous exactitude deserves to be better known.

To look at this striking picture, with its confident look of condescension and unquestioned superiority you would suppose His Royal Highness (1784-1844) hadn’t a care in the world. But that would be a gross mistake for he had a lifetime of troubles, for all that he was reckoned the handsomest prince in Europe, his sole competitor his own brother, Leopold Georg Christian Frederick, later elected the first King of the Belgians (1831), a set of whose very chairs grace this room. Here is the most brief rendition of his persistent and recurring woes…

When he succeeded to his miniscule patrimony in 1806 it consisted of three even smaller duchies, even in good times by no means sufficient to meet the urgent requirements of fashionable royalty. But he succeeded in bad times, when his duchy was occupied by Napoleonic troops and was under French administration. It was not an auspicious start for the man who called himself Ernest III, for there is nothing quite as pathetic as a prince with neither a principality nor a penny.

But there were more ructions, disappointments, and even for this supremely arrogant and self-absorbed prince events that must have touched his soul, if he indeed had one. His 1817 marriage to Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg was unhappy because of flagrant infidelities that broke the heart of his wronged lady whose untimely death at 30 was a tragedy for her children, a mortal sin for her errant and callous spouse.

Perhaps because he could not bear to see this very model of outraged virtue, he exiled her, removing her from his sight and causing his two sons, Ernest and Albert, to hate, loathe and despise him… which in no way prevented him from pestering Albert for money when he married his cousin who just happened to be the wealthiest woman in the world, and as Queen Victoria was sovereign of the greatest empire on which the sun never set. It was all most edifying, a clear moral tale, but it made for gloom and self-pity. Happiness was never a consideration.

But happiness, you see, must always be a consideration for us poor mortals and not just “a consideration” but “the consideration”, the sine qua non that turns mere existence into la dolce vita, the life worth living. And that is why M. le duc of Saxe-Coburg Gotha is here, on the wall in front of me.

It is because he discovered, perhaps too late for the actual man, that being master of three duchies and not just two is not good enough; that marrying the suitable princess to burnish his noble luster instead of loving the woman who loved him is not good enough… that sixteen quarters of noble heraldry instead of sixteen quarters of true affection is not good enough and can never be the basis for the substantial life, the life of joy and contentment, the life that goes beyond oneself, that takes the larger view.

Yet have too many of us and even I betimes have given up everything, yes unto and including our very soul, for the insubstantial evanescence of tawdry things which can never be enough, no matter how ardently desired and joyfully praised upon achievement and possession. There has to be more, must be more… and that is why Ernest of Saxe-Coburg Gotha in all his exuberant panache selected me to sustain and harbor him for my lifetime, because of course, each object in this and my every other room selected me, not as the uninitiated suppose, the reverse.

But, friend, I feel sure you are smiling now, and broadly too, at such a notion of fanciful conceit. I remember how once you told me that you believed in the verities of the material world, nothing more, a world where people purchase pictures, not vice versa.

That, of course, is why you need me and the wizardry and magic that permeates the Red Drawing Room, a place where visions are born and horizons broadened… just by stepping across the threshold where we shall find each other… and peace.

Author’s dedication. It is my pleasure to dedicate this work to my friend and colleague Lance Sumner and his two children Rochelle and Joshua upon the occasion of their first visit to the Red Drawing Room, June 21, 2013. May its undeniable magic and allure remain with all of you forever and a day, always a happy memory.

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 university degrees, including the PhD from Harvard. He has taught at over 40 colleges and universities and is quite possibly the first to offer satellite courses. He has written over 30 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


His memoirs “A Connoisseur’s Journey” has garnered eight literary prizes that ensure its classic status. Its subtitle is “Being the artful memoirs of a man of wit, discernment, pluck, and joy.” A good read by this man of so many letters. Such a man can offer you thousands of insights into the business of becoming a successful writer. Be sure to sign up now at www.writerssecrets.co


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