Art: Nudes Out of Place

Of all the things to paint, Belgian Paul Delvaux liked nothing better than painting naked, big-breasted women on windy beaches, crowded streets and moonlit terraces, among Greek ruins and in Empire ballrooms. Sometimes he showed them stooping to pluck a rose from the floor or from under a passing trolley.

Delvaux's mysteriously out-of-place nudes earned him a growing reputation as one of Europe's finest fantasists, sold almost as fast as he could paint them. Last week the first full-dress U.S. exhibition of his buff-bare ladies was on display at a Manhattan gallery, sponsored...

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