Art: A Livable Treasure-House

The Phillips Collection mounts a splendid show to commemorate itself and its dedicated founder

There was a time when Americans were apt to connect the owning of art with the possession of virtue, but that is long gone. We know in our heart of hearts that the Rothko on the boardroom wall does not turn the saber-toothed CEO into Bambi and that some of the nastiest beasts in history, such as Hermann Goring, have been sincere and knowledgeable art lovers. Moreover, being an important collector doesn't even show that you have halfway decent manners, let alone morals. Witness the late Dr. Albert Barnes, who before World War I became a multimillionaire from selling a snake...

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