Art: The Same Lost Thing

For 54 years he has been a painter, and for all but the past five of them. Bram van Velde has been penniless and unknown, a man so much alone that he has almost lost the gift of speech. Seemingly too late to give him any satisfaction, he is now becoming famous and solvent. He has had enormously successful shows in Swiss and Dutch museums. At his big retrospective at the influential Galerie Knoedler in Paris last fall, some of his paintings fetched prices up to $18,000. This week a similar show opens at...

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