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This chapter explores how New York replaced Paris as the world capital of contemporary art after World War II, arguing that the fifties witnessed the emancipation of American art from a stifling European tutelage. It also addresses the writing of a national American art history. By 1959, when Andre Malraux’s first Parisian Biennale was mounted, New York was already busy writing the next chapter of its history. The chapter traces how the French art establishment improperly evaluated the cultural changes occurring in the Western world after World War II, trying to reconstruct its image based on prewar values, on the reputations of contemporary old masters such as Picasso and Matisse, without exhibiting younger artists in its museums and without understanding the challenge posed by New York.

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