Art: The Lusty Years

When "Diamond Jim" Brady was the towering pinnacle of vulgar glitter . . and Lillian Russell heaved her eternal voluptuousness against the hungry jackal gleam in the tired businessman's eye . . . art in America . . . was merely an adjunct of plush and cut glass . . . Its heart pumped only anemia.

Thus Painter Everett Shinn summed up the turn-of-the-century standards: idealized nudes wrapped in cheesecloth, banal studio models posed in quaint period costumes. Into this world rushed a group of artists who, by the genteel standards of the day,...

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