Art: Behind the Curtain

The exhibition of pre-World War I Picassos that opened last month in Paris was one of the delights of the season. The 49 paintings ranged from the Blue Period Harlequin and His Companion (1900) to cubist arrangements, such as Violin and Glass (1913), and included some of the finest works of the young Picasso. But last week, after the show had attracted capacity crowds since its opening, the whole affair was abruptly called off.

Thirty-seven of the paintings were on loan from the U.S.S.R., which had confiscated them at the time of the revolution. Many had belonged to an art-loving Moscow grain...

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