Art: Art for Window-shoppers

Four years ago Manhattan's swank Saks Fifth Avenue department store decided to make the minor art of window dressing more arty. Taking a cue from the Museum of Modern Art's highly successful Van Gogh exhibition, Saks hung its windows with splashy Van Gogh reproductions, surrounded them with splashy garments. The idea spread until Fifth Avenue began to look like a huge, outdoor art museum.

Window dressers twisted the work of dozens of living and dead painters into ads to catch the feminine shopper's eye. Their displays were painted and draped to resemble Gauguins, Bonnards,...

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