Some time ago, I was introduced to a very interesting and engaging man, a sort of modern-day Lorenzo de’ Medici, who, like his distinguished Florentine predecessor, is an accomplished (and published) poet, a major supporter of poetry, a force in the world of international finance, and a passionate, eclectic collector of recent art. Curious about his choice of artists, I asked “Why do you collect?” Since the poet-financier’s manner is notably modest, even shy, I was a little surprised when he replied “Arrogance. I believe my taste is better than anyone else’s and I have the means to prove it.” My surprise quickly changed to admiration. What better description of the dedicated collector’s motivation?

I thought of this conversation as I made my way through “‘Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet!’: The Bruyas Collection from the Musée Fabre, Montpellier,” the summer...


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