Art: Ever Upward

Some decades back, investors discovered the art market. Some were genuinely interested in art but were also delighted to find that works by the right kind of artists were even safer than the best stocks. The Impressionists and Neo-Impressionists, in particular, were not only sound aesthetically and fiscally but also carried social panache. The result has been staggering prices for pictures which, good enough in themselves, would scarcely deserve to be ranked with the great masters—or even with the best pictures by the same painters.

All this was decisively demonstrated last week in Parke-Bernet's Manhattan auction rooms, where Millionaire Norton Simon...

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