While visiting an old friend in Belgium, the art historian Barbara Rose met Roberto Polo, a Cuban-born, American-educated artist, connoisseur, and art collector who directs an important gallery in Brussels. I suspect the two dedicated art lovers initially found common ground in their shared disgust with the present-day art world and their dislike of the great majority of the art, usually termed Post-Modernist, deemed admirable and desirable by that art world. But what seem to have solidified their connection were the abstract paintings by contemporary Belgian artists that Rose saw in Polo’s apartment. Their authors were unknown to her, yet, she later wrote, she found their work “fascinating, and in some strange way . . . oddly familiar.” The Belgians’ paintings seemed to embody values that Rose admired in the work of the American artists she had...


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