Painting: Landscapist of Light

Op-art banners fluttered from the flagpoles in the darkness overhead, and through the doors of Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art surged the opening-night black-tie throng. To celebrate the first evening of spring, girls wore their gayest dresses — flaring Pucci pajamas, metal-petaled above-the-knee A-lines, the newest see-through evening gowns. The occasion for all this festivity? The Modern's salute to a painter who has been dead 114 years, Joseph M. W. Turner, the 19th century romantic saint who so believed in communion with nature that at the age of 66 he had himself lashed to the mast of a ship while...

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