Art: Good Man with a Bottle

The biennial exhibition that opens at São Paulo, Brazil this week contained no less than 5,000 contemporary paintings, and of them perhaps one in ten might interest future ages. Standout shows within the show were a collection of pale and wan but faultless abstractions by Britain's Ben Nicholson, the weightless, rainbow fantasies of France's Marc Chagall, and 30 dim-dusty canvases by Italy's Giorgio Morandi. Nicholson and Chagall were considered stiff contenders for the 300,000-cruzeiro ($3,780) grand prize. After the usual frenzied politicking, the 17 international jurymen settled on Italy's Morandi.

It was whispered that the English and French members of the jury...

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