Art: Paris' Prodigal Son Returns

If any American painter is entitled to be considered the prodigal son of French modernism, it is Robert Motherwell. So a festive sense of homecoming rises from the retrospective of some 150 Motherwell paintings and collages being shown throughout the summer at the Museum of Modern Art of the City of Paris. At last month's opening, one could almost hear the squeals of the fatted calf on the block.

Today, at 62, Motherwell is an American master (one of the very few around), but that is a recent reputation. Through the '40s and '50s in...

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