Art: The Age of Experiment

Oswald Spengler. that grand and gloomy chronicler of The Decline of the West, once remarked that Edouard Manet (1832-83) was the last gasp of great Western painting. What Spengler failed to see was that Manet was not an end but a beginning. With a single picture, displayed at the Paris Salon of 1865, Manet fueled an artistic revolution that has shaped the course of modern art, for better or for worse, for nearly a century. At the core of the whole hurly-burly that rages through the art world today is the artistic proposition raised...

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