Art: Reluctant Chronicler

Within their ornate frames, the Edwardian ladies & gentlemen looked just as the most fashionable artists of their day had found them—rich, well-bred, proud, and usually a trifle bored. These proper people, in proper painting, hung last week in Manhattan's Metropolitan Museum celebrating New York City's 50th anniversary as an incorporated big city (TIME, June 7).

There was Giovanni Boldini's wispy Duchess of Marlborough propped stiffly on her spindly divan; Whistler had caught bewhiskered Theodore Duret wistfully holding a lady's opera cape in some carpeted corridor. And William M. Chase had come upon...

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