TO speak of Alexander Archipenko is, for many, to speak of a ghost—an artist whose glories are in the past and who only haunts the present. Yet no ghost could be more lively. This week an Archipenko retrospective will open at Manhattan's Perls Galleries, and another show will head for a tour of Canada. Archipenko has always been an innovator; at 74, he still is.

Archipenko's father was a mildly successful inventor in the Russian city of Kiev, and invention has held a fascination for Archipenko all his life. While the father thought of an invention as a mechanical problem, the son...

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