ART: New Dawn

What shaped the vision of the great Impressionists?

What, another impressionist show? Yet more of those women under trees, those boating parties, those irksomely "unproblematic" scenes of French middle- class life a century and a quarter ago? Fraid so, yes. But "Origins of Impressionism," seen earlier this year in Paris and now filling a large slice of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, is an uncommonly well- chosen and fully argued show.

Created by the Met's Gary Tinterow and the French art historian Henri Loyrette, chief curator of the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, it has drawn in an astonishing number of major works -- nearly 30...

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