Art: Security, with Fangs

One day last week 14 little paintings by an unknown named E. Box were hung in London's Hanover Gallery. By nightfall they were all sold and critics were asking: What does this amateur have that most professionals lack?

The pictures' quality was not expressed in the way they were painted. E. Box used loud primary colors and plenty of sticky pigment to get a flat, lush, primitive effect. Compared with her, Grandma Moses was an old master. But Box's subject matter was something special.

The settings of her oils were Edwardian drawing rooms with striped wallpaper and horsehair sofas, and idyllic landscapes with...

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