Art: Cavalcade

Last week Washington's Corcoran Gallery opened the liveliest art show the capital had seen in many a month. Its big, rambling "American Procession: 1492-1900" filled twelve galleries and six corridors, and was as exciting and various as the history it recounted. Moreover, there wasn't a painting that the average summer visitor couldn't grasp at first blink.

For eight months, 15 Corcoran staff members had scoured the U.S., made expeditions to Canada, Mexico and Europe to round up paintings, prints and Americana. In Paris they uncovered a 1775 mezzotint of A Society of Patriotic...

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