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Highlights for April

The Rothko Chapel in Houston features large paintings with subtle nuances of black. Photo/Runaway Productions
Rothko’s stark vision graces Houston chapel
By Dennis RavertyUpon entering the Rothko Chapel in Houston, one is immediately aware of a quiet, contemplative ambience unlike either the noisy city outside or the typical atmosphere in a gallery or a museum, where paintings by the mid-century abstract artist Marc Rothko (1908-70) are more likely to be seen. Dimly lit by a concealed skylight and entirely without windows, the space has the hushed air of a sanctuary. It is only after your eyes have adjusted to the lower level of light that you notice the huge monolithic black paintings that dominate every wall of this octagonal space.

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Heiress saved Jewish children in Nazi-occupied France
Reviewed by Rick HamlinSuzanne Spaak would seem to have unlikely makings for a saint. She was a rich Belgian heiress living in occupied Paris during World War II in a sumptuous Palais Royale apartment (upstairs from the writer Colette) that was filled with paintings by her friend the surrealist Magritte. Spaak raised her son and teenaged daughter—the latter a possible inspiration for Colette’s Gigi—with little financial help from her bounder of a husband, as all the while she was rescuing hundreds of Jewish children from the Nazis.

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