Art: Odyssey in Oils

In turbulent post-World War I Germany, two German soldiers sliced three paintings from their frames in the Grand Ducal Museum of Weimar. Last week the paintings were up on walls again, this time in Washington's National Gallery. On view were a Rembrandt 1643 self-portrait (worth upwards of $750,000), a Gérard ter Borch, one of Rembrandt's contemporaries, and a work by the 18th century German, Johann Heinrich Wilhelm Tischbein. Their strange odyssey bespeaks of both the awe and the ignorance that surround great art works. It also suggests that masterpieces, like people, can be...

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