Art: Monumental Dolls

When a man named Elie Nadelman died two years ago, his passing was barely noted. Last week Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art opened a retrospective show that went a long way to prove that Nadelman, who made two splashy successes, then tried to hide, had been one of the best sculptors the U.S. had seen.

Nadelman had his first show in a Paris gallery in 1909. His command of classic sculpture caused so much talk that Matisse put up a sign in his studio, forbidding discussion of Nadelman. The sculptor was then 27, a...

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