Art: Boom In Old Masters

Europe's refugees, made shrewd by wars and revolutions, long ago discovered a special value in art—namely, it is the most golden of all gilt-edged investments. Buying by wealthy refugees last season set Manhattan's 57th Street galleries and auction houses humming like stock exchanges, helped roll up the biggest art business since 1929.

Index of this boom were the annual sales figures announced last week by Manhattan's largest (and newest) art dealer, Gimbel Brothers Department Store. Gimbels' sales—$5,255,000—more than doubled last year's. Fifty-Seventh Street's largest art auctioneers, swank Parke-Bernet Galleries,* ran second with $4,007,823.35,...