"An artist lives as he wishes, or...as he can"

All of a sudden the Revolution, with one powerful hand, took this entire wardrobe that had evolved over fourteen centuries and reduced it to paper money, and thus madly brought about one of the greatest misfortunes to afflict a nation. Workers grew weary of working by themselves; they got it into their heads to share the sorrow and profit, in equal portions, with the miserable rich who didn’t know how to do anything but enjoy themselves at their leisure!...

And in the year of grace 1904, as in the year MCXX, it was acknowledged that it was infinitely pleasant for a man or a woman to say to themselves when looking at their fellow citizens: “I am above them; I dazzle them, I protect them, I govern them, and every one of them can clearly see that I govern them, protect them, and dazzle them for I am a man who dazzles, protects, or governs others, who speaks, eats, walks, drinks, sleeps, coughs, dresses, and enjoys himself differently than those dazzled, projected, and governed.”

And Elegant Living suddenly appeared!...

And it soared bright and new, utterly old, utterly young, proud, spruce, approved, corrected, augmented, and restored by this wonderfully moral, religious, monarchic, literary, constitutional, egoistic argument: “I dazzle, I protect, I…”, etc.

For the principles by which people with talent, power, or money conduct themselves and live shall never resemble those of the common herd.

And no one wants to be common!

Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850)