I enjoy the company of my hopelessly rich friends. Because they have Everything, they expend their considerable energies on the minutiae of Life. They are most concerned about the Right Everything: the right houses, the right cars, the right clothes, the right shoes, the right watches, the right paintings, the right furniture, the right accessories, the right vacations, the right luggage, the right hotels… even the right extramarital affairs.
And it is that Pursuit of All Things Right that provides me a great source of amusement.
The Ultra Rich friends have a very cosmopolitan definition of “The Right Things.” The interiors of their houses look very much like their business partners’ luxurious homes in Park Avenue in New York, Mayfair and Regent’s Park in London, and Avenue Foch in Paris. To underscore their financial kinships with the Gates, the Ellisons, and the Buffetts, and their lifestyle kinships with the Rothschilds, the Agnellis, and the Thyssen-Bornemiszas, The Filipino Ultra Rich also surround themselves with the paintings, the furniture, and the ultrarare objects that the Forbes 100 also have…
According to my forever rich Spanish mestizo friends, one must have inherited Juan Lunas and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgos from “Abuelito y Abuelita,” preferably with some Joaquin Sorollas and Ignacio Zuloagas thrown in. And of course, some Fernando Zobel y Montojo. Also, one should have heirloom Spanish colonial furniture to emphasize one’s exalted lineage and to dispel any odors of being “nouveau riche” [ horrors ]… never mind if one just bought it yesterday at Kit Roxas’ tres chichi “Tawalisi” Antiques at the LaO’ Center.
According to my ascendant Chinese friends, the ultimate social benediction in their community is to have an Anita Magsaysay-Ho painting in the living room. It is the surest sign that one has “made it.” And the more celebrated the better. How much more impressive can Php 16 million get???
If you’re a young Chinese couple, a “Lao Lian Ben” over the sofa in the living room is perfectly acceptable.
“Ang Kiukok” has been desirable and has been a good investment for many years. Of course, if you’re incredibly rich, why not wallpaper an entire guest wing stairwell with his dazzling works and casually toss some to a tertiary guest bathroom as well???
“BenCab” of course. I’ve even seen some his large works liberally scattered in very rich young girls’ bedrooms…
My more-or-less Filipino friends insist on the suitability of Fernando Amorsolos for their homes. Thus the preponderance of Spanish Conquest scenes, bucolic country views, fire trees, baptismal scenes, rice plantings, rice harvests, mango trees, happy peasants, cockfights, World War II burnings, etc.. All of them have paid dearly for superior genuine works. All of them have paid dearly for inferior genuine works. Some of them have paid dearly for very good fakes. And a lucky few simply took magnificent genuine works from their parents’ houses in exchange for nothing more than a big plasma TV and regular visits from the grandchildren.