Books: The Ogre of Merlon

The Ogre of Merion

ART AND ARGYROL (412 pp.)—William Schack—Thomas Yoseloff ($4.95).

On a summer's afternoon nine years ago, a Cadillac careened at high speed past a stop sign onto a highway in suburban Philadelphia, directly in the path of a huge trailer truck. The driver of the car-Albert Coombs Barnes, multimillionaire, eccentric and owner of one of the world's greatest collections of modern art—died instantly. When the news of Barnes's violent end reached him, Henri Marceau, curator of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, had an awed comment: "How natural." Long before his death, Albert Barnes's fabulous collection of French and American modern...

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