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September 19, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

DECORATIVE ARTS: An Illustrated Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum edited by Charissa Bremer-David (The J. Paul Getty Museum, 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu 90265-5799: $45.; 308 pp., paperback original). The Getty Museum houses one of the world's great collections of furniture, porcelain, ceramics, silver, glassware, tapestries, etc. But despite the opulence of its subject, the catalogue of the collection is engagingly modest. The listings of the provenance of each object offer a mini-course in European history: a chair commissioned for the Petit Trianon was sold during the French Revolution; an antique secretaire was confiscated from the Viennese Rothschilds by the Third Reich. A valuable reference for art history students and visitors to the museum.

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