Art: Pictures for Rent

Shopping for paintings makes most people nervous. For everyone lucky or unlucky enough to "fall in love" with a picture on sight, there are ten who know what they like but not what they would like to live with. The majority of art shoppers are apt to ask two dead-earnest questions which make dealers squirm: 1) "Do you think this picture will go with my other furnishings?" and 2) "Will my friends approve?"

To enable customers to answer both questions themselves, more and more U.S. galleries rent pictures out, at $1 to $80 a month. The galleries have discovered that more than...

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