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The process of re-hanging started months ago on a to-scale floor plan of the galleries. Colored postcards of the paintings were moved around until the epiphanic moment when every combination seemed right. In early December, the actual re-installation began in the galleries. The generic hanging height is 64 inches from the center of the painting to the ground, or somewhat higher in the case of larger works — but it’s not a fixed rule, and the tweaking and adjusting only stops when the public is finally let in.

Ms. Morton wrote eight gallery texts with what she calls “very simple ideas” to help visitors understand the new juxtaposition of familiar works. The text for one gallery is headed “Exoticism” (Modigliani’s nude, Henri Matisse’s “Odalisque Seated With Arms Raised,” Renoir’s “Bather Arranging Her Hair”). The text explains the influence of North Africa, Orientalism and the artists’ fascination with the nude.

Her approach, she knows, will surprise and perhaps perplex some visitors. But she hopes it will add force and freshness to the collection. She insists the re-installation is not about provoking viewers.

“It’s about the drama that occurs when you move pictures about,” Ms. Morton said.

As she straightened another frame and pulled back for yet another look at the overall effect, she observed, “It’s gone like gangbusters, and I’m feeling like it’s pretty right.”