Art: Seeing Degas As Never Before

A superb retrospective of the great French realist opens in New York City

Whatever else may be wrong with the late American art industry, we are living in the golden age of the retrospective exhibition. One by one, the great artists of the 19th century have been done over the past decade: Cezanne, Manet, Courbet, Van Gogh, Gauguin -- and now Edgar Degas. We may deplore the crowds at these shows, the souvenir selling, the social circus and the TeleTron tickets at up to $7.75 apiece, an outrageous tax on knowledge. Earplugs -- preferably not attached to Acoustiguide gadgets -- and yogic detachment are needed. There are, as crusty old Degas said, some kinds...

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