Art: Art from Down Under

The U.S. art world, itself a mere 300-year-old moppet in the history of art, last week met and ogled a baby brother. The baby brother was Australian art, a bouncing 150-year-old. The meeting took place on the ground floor of Washington's pink marble National Gallery, where a thousand curious visitors assembled for the opening of the first comprehensive exhibition of work by Australian painters ever shown in the U.S.

Like U.S. artists in general, to whom they have a strong family resemblance, the Australians were short on abstractions and surrealist nightmares, showed a...

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