Art: Acquisitionitis

The supply of old masters available to the market is just about exhausted, but U.S. museums seem to keep right on buying old masters. In a trenchant little article in The Art Gallery, Director Daniel Catton Rich of the Worcester (Mass.) Art Museum charges that in the process they often dig up paintings that should have been left buried, that the era of masterpieces is giving way to the "era of the second-rate."

"I am all for exploring forgotten periods and personalities in art," he says. "But along with the 'fresh' look has often come the faded flower. Our collections are blossoming...

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