Art: Rich Tastes

Private art collectors, provided they are well-heeled, have some real advantages over museum-keepers. They are not restricted by trustee tastes or by public demands, and they are under no compulsion to build representative, "balanced" collections. They buy what they like, when they like, for their own pleasure.

A good cross section of private collectors' accomplishments—and tastes—is now on display at Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art. The 87 paintings and sculptures in the show were lent by five collectors.

The John Hay Whitneys' pictures, which top the show, are magnificent examples of such modern French...

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