Art: Good Old England

After half a century of hemming & haw-hawing, the Royal Academy at last admitted that modern, school-of-Paris art might be art. To let Britons judge the stuff for themselves, the academy last week opened a show of France's top moderns. Among those best represented were Utrillo, Rouault, Braque, Chagall, Leger and Matisse*—all of them old men now. Critics and the earnest students who jammed the exhibition rapturously agreed that it was great. But the old guard closed ranks, fixed bayonets, and refused to surrender.

Horse-Painter Sir Alfred Munnings, 72, a onetime president of the academy, sounded an opening bugle offstage. He advised...

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