Art: For Pleasure

Jean de Botton is the only French painter accredited by the British Government to paint the Coronation ceremony inside Westminster Abbey (by request of the Duke of Gloucester). Yet when a friend took twelve of his bright canvases around to Manhattan's Harriman Gallery, the dealers knew next to nothing about him. After looking at the pictures, however, they decided promptly to hang them, did so this week.

Jean de Botton is the bellwether of a small group of French painters who confess that the chief aim of their art is to give pleasure. They disavow both literal story-telling and the abstractionism of...

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