Art: Collector's Primitive

The humbling message of a good piece of primitive art is that some long-ago savage possessed sensibilities and skills that a modern artist, making art instead of magic, can top only at his best. Since the artists of Paris first called new attention to this old art, near the turn of the century, primitive art has had a growing fascination in Europe and the U.S. Yet experts still put the number of first-rate U.S. collections at fewer than 25. One such collection went on display last week at Manhattan's Rockefeller-founded Museum of Primitive Art—and proved a superb demonstration of what a...

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