Quotes from An Object of Beauty

Steve Martin ·  304 pages

Rating: (45.6K votes)


“I have found that-- just as in real life--imagination sometimes has to stand in for experience.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“You want to know how I think art should be taught to children? Take them to a museum and say, 'This is art, and you can't do it.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“When someone less capable is ahead of me, I am not pleased. It makes me insane.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“Lacy was just as happy alone as with company. When she was alone, she was potential; with others she was realized.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“…when the person beside you is making you alert and keen and the idea of being with anyone else is not imaginable…”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty



“both you and paintings are layered… first, ephemera and notations on the back of the canvas. Labels indicate gallery shows, museum shows, footprints in the snow, so to speak. Then pencil scribbles on the stretcher, usually by the artist, usually a title or date. Next the stretcher itself. Pine or something. Wooden triangles in the corners so the picture can be tapped tighter when the canvas becomes loose. Nails in the wood securing the picture to the stretcher. Next, a canvas: linen, muslin, sometimes a panel; then the gesso - a primary coat, always white. A layer of underpaint, usually a pastel color, then, the miracle, where the secrets are: the paint itself, swished around, roughly, gently, layer on layer, thick or thin, not more than a quarter of an inch ever -- God can happen in that quarter of an inch -- the occasional brush hair left embedded, colors mixed over each other, tones showing through, sometimes the weave of the linen revealing itself. The signature on top of the entire goulash. Then varnish is swabbed over the whole. Finally, the frame, translucent gilt or carved wood. The whole thing is done.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“The emotions of men, however, were of a different order. They were pesky annoyances, small dust devils at her feet. Her knack for causing heartbreak was innate, but her vitality often made people forgive her romantic misdeeds.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“she is nearing forty and not so easily forgiven as when her skin bloomed like roses.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“...a young man, Jamaican, perhaps, his head circled in a scarf with sunbleached dreadlocks on piled on top, looking like a plate of soft-shell crabs.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“So, while fitting in, she was like a wicked detail standing out against a placid background.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty



“The Matisse seemed to respond to the decreasing light by increasing its own wattage. Every object in the room was drained of color, but the Matisse stood firm in the de-escalating illumination, its beauty turning functionality inside out, making itself a more practical and useful presence than anything else in sight.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“So she viewed time spent in the land of the normal as an investigation into the world of marriage-worthy men, even if she was unsure about her own interest in marriage. There must be one solid citizen who also had a spark of life, a sense of humor and adventure.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“She started converting objects of beauty into objects of value.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“If you occasionally wonder how I know about some of the events I describe in this book, I don't. I have found that--just as in real life--imagination sometimes has to stand in for experience.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“Lacey was just as happy alone as with company. When she was alone, she was potential; with others she was realized. Alone, she was self-contained, her tightly spinning magnetic energy oscillating around her. When in company, she had invisible tethers to anyone in the room: as they moved away, she pulled them in.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty



“An artist who painted a face was now 'playing with the idea of portraiture,' or 'exploring push-pull aesthetics,' or toying with contradictions like 'menacing-slash-playful,' but he or she was never, ever, just painting a face.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“People in coats and ties were milling around the Talley gallery, and on the wall were the minimally rendered still lifes by Giorgio Morandi, most of them no bigger than a tea tray. Their thin browns, ashy grays, and muted blues made people speak softly to one another, as if a shouted word might curdle one of the paintings and ruin it. Bottles, carafes, and ceramic whatnots sat in his paintings like small animals huddling for warmth, and these shy pictures could easily hang next to a Picasso or Matisse without feeling inferior.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“I am tired, so very tired of thinking about Lacey Yeager, yet I worry that unless I write her story down, and see it bound and tidy on my bookshelf, I will be unable to ever write about anything else.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“The auction houses seemed not as dull as their financial counterparts on Wall Street, where parents of daughters imagined glass celings and bottom patting.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


“And after his unparsable response, including a passage where he said he was 'blurring the boundaries between a thing and thought,' she said, 'Thank you, I get lost sometimes,' while laying two fingers on his folded arm.”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty



“a real scholar with a bright pen,”
― Steve Martin, quote from An Object of Beauty


About the author

Steve Martin
Born place: in Waco, Texas, The United States
Born date August 14, 1945
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