Art: Snap Judge

The red-draped galleries of the Hotel Drouot bulged last week with the world's top connoisseurs of modern French painting. Some 700 had come to bid at Paris' most important art auction since the war, and incidentally to get a look at the shrewdest judge of them all. Looking like a plump old Napoleon, Art Expert Andre Schoeller sat where everyone could see him, just below the auctioneer's dais. On the block were oils by Degas, Pissarro, Braque, Modigliani and Matisse. Schoeller's presence was enough to guarantee that every one of the paintings was...

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