Art: DISTRESS AND DELIGHT

HENRY KOERNER, 44, is one of the nation's best living painters,*but he has long worked in the shadows of two masters, first Giotto and then Cézanne. His latest work still shows their influence, yet displays a new and surer synthesis that is unmistakably Koerner's own.

Vienna-born, Koerner came to the U.S. in 1939, lives in a Victorian gingerbread-style house in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill section. His new pictures deal, often harshly and always provocatively, with the basic human condition, especially in America. As pictures, they have beauty, but their content is seldom beautiful. "America's beauty," Koerner jauntily explains, "is in its ugliness."

Small, strong,...

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