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A 1956 work by Mark Rothko, National Gallery of Art, Washington. Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

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“Girl in Red Dress With Cat and Dog” (1830-35) by Ammi Phillips, National Gallery of Art, Washington. Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

“The Seduction of Light” runs through March 29 at the American Folk Art Museum, 45 West 53rd Street, Manhattan; (212) 265-1040, www.folkartmuseum.org.