Art: Rich No More

Mark Lass, plump, solemn and 61, claimed he had been a Red general. His brother Boris, 64, he said, was a concert violinist and had been the Soviet Union's top art official in the early 19205. They left Russia for Japan in 1926, taking with them 200 "masterpieces" collected by their mother. Settling finally in Manhattan, they became naturalized citizens in 1945. By then their collection totaled some 280 canvases, which they valued at about $25 million, included paintings with such signatures as Gauguin, Van Gogh, Soutine, Cezanne and Monet. But money...