Art: The Anguish of the Northerners

In Chicago, a powerful show of German expressionism

One of the dogmas of modern art is that Paris, between 1870 and 1939, was the cultural center of Europe and the world: the fount of norms, clearinghouse of ideas and Vatican of newness. Yet around the turn of the century, the supremacy of Paris did not seem quite so clear-cut. "If I had a son who wanted to be a painter," a 16-year-old student wrote in 1897, "I would not keep him in Spain for a moment, and do not imagine I would send him to...

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