KING LOUIS XIII of France, a man of impeccable taste, insisted on having in his own bedroom the work of only one artist: he rightly considered Georges de La Tour, of Luneville in Lorraine, one of the great geniuses of his time.

Then came the age of the Roi Soleil, whose grandiloquent tastes did not run to the simple beauty of Georges de La Tour. In time, De La Tour's name disappeared completely—not only from France, but from all of Europe—and it was not until 1915 that two of his paintings were formally identified by the Kaiser Friedrich Museum in Berlin....

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