SINCE Louis XIV looked with favor upon the artists of France, Paris has been the capital of the world of art. Great art revolutions spilled out of Paris; great art masters stormed the barricades there, ruled as tastemakers for more than two centuries. In mid-20th century, with France drifting toward ever lesser status as a world power, how does the Ecole de Paris stand?

Paris dealers scooped up some $9,500,000 for their 40,000-odd artists last year; the Ecole de Paris remains the most talked about, the most museum-represented "school" in the world. But there...

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