|From the New York Daily News: Now you see 'em at museums |
Unfortunately, the young man has acquired taste and a serious eye.
Instead of buying the opulent, bright - and huge - canvases his relatives imagined adorning the walls of their mansion, he acquires small, exquisite early Renaissance works. The family is mortified. For the rest of his life he is an outcast. Not until after his death, decades later, does the value, both esthetic and financial, of his collection become apparent.
The story was one of many in which Wharton deplored the materialism and philistinism of the wealthy, dull people among whom she had grown up.
Like wealthy families, museums sometimes acquire things whose value becomes clear only with time.