Art: Out of Hock

President Roosevelt last week took a personal hand in one of the knottiest problems that had ever plagued a bequest-hungry U.S. art museum. He asked Congress for $195,000 so that Washington's palatial new National Gallery could get its latest rich bequest—that of Philadelphia's late Peter Arrell Brown Widener—out of hock. The money was owed for a Pennsylvania gift tax which the Widener will laid on the beneficiary.

The greatest remaining private art hoard in the U.S. (valued up to $50,000,000), the Widener collection was a plum fit to water directorial mouths in any museum in the world. No private collection has...

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