Art: Excelsior!

While the rest of the economy suffers depressions, the art market soars. At an auction last week in Manhattan's Parke-Bernet Galleries, buyers spent $5,852,250 for 72 Impressionist and modern paintings, another $906,375 for 19th and 20th century sculpture. The biggest sale was Van Gogh's Le Cypres et I'Arbre en Fleurs, a sun-touched landscape he painted in the asylum at St. Remy in the last busy and desperate year of his life. It is a relatively small canvas (20¼ in. by 25½ in.), certainly not one of his most spectacular works. Yet an anonymous buyer paid $1.3 million for it, more than...

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