Art: Fuzzy Triumph

Fifty-nine years ago, a Paris art student wrote excitedly to his parents: "I'm earning my own living!" He had just sold a poster for a champagne ad. Since then critics have called Pierre Bonnard everything from "insistently disagreeable" to "the greatest living painter." Last week in Paris Pierre Bonnard was having his greatest triumph.

A retrospective show of Bonnard's 35 color symphonies was the talk of the town. Cagey Paris art dealers valued them at 500,000 francs apiece ($4,200), three times their prewar price. Critics and gallery goers wondered whether it meant that postwar Frenchmen wanted a rest from the chaotic world,...

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