Art: Escape to Fame

Only twelve years ago, Stefan Knapp was a refugee wandering through Soviet Russia, feeding himself on roots, berries, and—on lucky days—the meat of cats and rats. Now, at 32, Knapp is a successful painter whose one-man show last week was a high point of the London season. Twenty-six of his pictures were sold by the Hanover Gallery, and Knapp was considering two commissions as a muralist.

The pictures on view were iridescent semi-abstractions in which bonelike black lines formed skeletal figures encompassing colored geometric shapes. Angry Bull, whose heavy lines encased blocks of purple, yellow, red, green and orange, suggested a...

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