Art: Flittering in the Dells

The English penchant for painting fairies makes for a worthwhile, if peculiar, exhibition

Could you think of a dottier notion for an exhibition than the one now in the lower rooms of the Frick Collection in New York City: "Victorian Fairy Painting"? All those little homunculi and chaste, pocket-size cuties with gauzy wings, flittering about the mossy dells and twiggy bowers of the sentimental English imagination--aargh, spare us. We are so much smarter now, anyway: instead of fairies we believe in close encounters of the third kind, with aliens sticking shiny probes into overweight housewives whisked from the parking lot of the 7-Eleven. And yet, even granting that the show (which was a big...

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