Art: Boston Surprise

In 1912 a roly-poly picture framer named Boris Mirski came to Boston from Lithuania. Ever since, while framing New England portraits and brown landscapes for the residents of staid Beacon Hill, he made modern art—a much less salable commodity in Boston—his side line. This week, in a redbrick, 78-year-old Back Bay mansion, right next door to the stuffy Guild of Boston Artists on swank Newbury Street, he opened an art gallery with an exhibition of 53 paintings by a Guatemalan Indian, Carlos Mérida.

Mérida maintains that many of the wiggly goblins and squat blobs...

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