Art: PICTURE HOUSES

In the Bavarian Alps, housepainting is an ancient and honorable art. In the 14th to 18th centuries, most buildings of any account were decorated with high, wide & handsome representations of saints (and, occasionally, sinner: These paintings, done in weatherproof fresco and retouched every 50 years so, still make scores of Bavarian streets look like open-air picture galleries. Today the art of housepainting is enjoying a boom, thanks largely to the efforts and skill of a Garmisch-Partenkirchen painter named Heinrich Bickel.

A stocky, dedicated little artist with an iron-grey mustache and invariably dressed...

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