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A famous painting by René Magritte – The Empire of Light – just set a new world auction record for the surrealist artist: $79.7 million.
Unlike most contemporary art – which moves me not at all – I love this piece.
The image is a striking combination of a night street scene set against a daylit, cloud-filled blue sky.
I feel like I’ve witnessed that particular scene, that fleeting moment.
Some will say it’s a street scene at dusk. But I see a metaphor for a certain stage of life.
The Empire of Light by René Magritte (1961)
Twilight is approaching. You feel it enveloping you. But it hasn’t arrived yet. There is still time left to enjoy the day, time to savor a moment that will soon be gone forever.
The painting is bittersweet, haunting, serene.
Forgive me for rhapsodizing. I’m no art critic.
I’m just a regular museum and gallery crawler who “knows what he likes” – and is always on the lookout for something beautiful to display in my home or office.
When I saw The Empire of Light, I knew I had to have it.
There was just one problem. I was about $79 million short.
So I called Ed Mero.
Ed is the founder and president of Prestige Fine Art. And I’m a longtime customer.
Based in Coral Springs, Florida, Prestige Fine Art specializes in re-creating the world’s most renowned oil paintings.
The company uses professional artists who strive to match every nuance of a great master’s palette, brushstroke and vision.
It does not sell prints. These are museum-quality replicas of the world’s great masterpieces, hand-painted in oil on canvas.
I have about a dozen of Ed’s paintings on my walls. (You may have seen my recent column on Washington Crossing the Delaware.)
Over the years, these paintings have inspired dozens of conversations with friends and guests about art, beauty – and life.
A slightly better-known collector of art replicas was Thomas Jefferson.
Visit Monticello and you’ll find portraits of Jefferson’s heroes – Benjamin Franklin, Isaac Newton, Francis Bacon and Voltaire – displayed in his study.
I once asked a guide if the portraits are originals.
Turns out Franklin and Newton are. But Bacon and Voltaire are re-creations that Jefferson had made during his lifetime.
I generally write about investments, so you might wonder where I’m going with all this…
The Oxford Club’s primary mission is to help Members achieve their most important financial goals.
But we have a secondary mission: to help Members live a richer life.
I don’t recommend Ed’s services because of the future appreciation potential of these paintings.
I recommend them for the delight you’ll receive from them right now.
If you’re interested in art as an investment, I encourage you to read a recent column by my friend and colleague Mark Ford. (You’ll find it here.)
At the end, Mark writes: “The wise art investor will think of art as an historical artifact, not as an aesthetic object.”
That’s a crucial insight for aspiring art investors.
But my interest – not the least bit investment-oriented – is the opposite.
I love aesthetic objects, paintings and sculptures that leave me gobsmacked.
The artwork I display in my home and office pay dividends every day. I never tire of looking at them.
Nothing provides more constant pleasure – or says more about your taste – than the art you display in your home.
Fortunately, you don’t have to pay a small fortune – or a large one – to own beautiful art.
You can display stunning art in your home at a tiny fraction of the cost of the original works.
For example, if you enjoy The Empire of Light, Prestige Fine Art is currently offering it to subscribers at a substantial discount.
This image – which just sold at auction for $79.7 million – is ordinarily available as a 30-by-40-inch oil-on-canvas painting for $10,500.
However, Prestige Fine Art is currently offering this replica to Liberty Through Wealth subscribers for just $6,825.
If you’re interested, feel free to contact Ed at 954.604.1288.
(Prestige Fine Art requires a 50% deposit to begin and needs 60 to 90 days for fulfillment.)
Or feel free to browse his catalog here.
The Oxford Club has no business relationship with Prestige Fine Art. I offer this information only for your consideration and enjoyment.
Enter a home with elegant furnishings, attractive art, colorful arrangements or a breathtaking view and we immediately fall under its spell.
(The experience often encourages us to reevaluate our situation and perhaps change the quality of our own poorly improvised lives.)
Modern life can be filled with mundane thoughts, utilitarian calculations and constant striving.
Beauty provides a respite. It reminds us of important truths: the resplendence of nature, the loveliness of youth, the ephemerality of life.
Oscar Wilde quipped that it is only a shallow person who does not judge by appearances.
To be blind to beauty is to be blind to life.
Or, at least, the most attractive parts of it.
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