Art: Gift, Sales

Some patrons of art are merely lavish. Others are both lavish and acute. The latter not only endow museums, but also assist living, impoverished artists. George Blumenthal, famed Manhattan banker, and his wife continually do both these things. Last week it was a museum's turn to benefit. To Manhattan's Metropolitan the Blumenthals gave a million dollars, which, however, must be set to accumulating interest until they die.

In the early 14th century Duccio saw and disliked stiff, awkward Byzantine mosaic figures in northern Italy. He imagined more supple figures. For 16 cents a day he painted them...