One of fall fashion’s hottest “it” bags is a collaboration between a luxury label and an artist infamously known for his salesmanship and love of kitsch. The pricey satchels feature reproductions of well-known masterworks, such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, Édouard Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe, and J. M. W. Turner’s Ancient Rome, and include the (original) artist’s name emblazoned in gold block letters on the side. It’s a new low for high culture.

Is this latest fad any different from the museum-shop umbrella covered in Monet’s waterlilies or the silk scarf printed with Hokusai’s Mount Fuji? “Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting” is similarly the kind of blockbuster show that gives a museum a tasteful treasure trove...


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