Sensational Steve Martin

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"Collecting art is my biggest hobby," he says. "I don't love paintings the way I love my wife. I mean, I love them in a different way. And I love them at least partly because this art is so different from what I do that it's an escape for me. Paintings exist in space; show business exists in time. I like to sit down, alone or with Victoria, and look at the paintings. Sometimes I feel so lucky to own them. It's like, good grief, these things are so beautiful -- how did this happen?"

Imagine this painting: Portrait of a Man on Top. He sits alone in a white suit, in a white room, staring ahead, perhaps at another painting. The silhouette of a devoted woman shimmers to one side. At his feet are neat piles of scripts, art books, 3-by-5 cards from a pristine youth. His face shows no emotion or thought; all the wild wit and inquiring intellect are hidden inside. It is the face that says, "Go away." But some mad fan has tampered with the portrait. On the man's head he has drawn nose glasses, bunny ears and a hat with an arrow through it. The fan's graffito is almost poignant: he wants this man to be . . . Steve Martin!

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