Luc Tuymans has been the European painter of the moment—for several years. With a national pavilion at the 2001 Venice Biennale, a prominent place in the 2002 Documenta, and a full-scale retrospective co-organized by the Tate Modern and K21 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein Westfalen, Düsseldorf, where it is now on view, the forty-six-year-old Belgian is, by all accounts, a midcareer artist in full stride. Yet a slew of top-tier exhibitions does not fully measure the impact of his painting on the artistic landscape today. Perhaps even more revealing is the pervasiveness of different aspects of his art in the work of many younger European painters. Not unlike Gerhard Richter two decades ago, Tuymans seems to have tapped into a particular mode of seeing and depicting that has unusual resonance. Indeed, these days one can hardly walk into a gallery or art fair with an eye peeled for painting without
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