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Depends on your target audience.
320px wide for smartphones (portrait)
480px wide for smartphones (landscape)
500-770px wide for tablets
990-1280px wide for laptops
1000-1600px wide for desktops
Increasingly, modern web developers are using Media Queries and external stylesheets to cater to various device widths.
You can see a demo on this page (resize your viewport to 480px)
Google labs - Browser Size
"Responsive web design" is the hip catchphrase at the moment.
Basically means your web design works in any device and page orientation that you throw at it.
Lots of reading on the web
As I thought the world has moved on leaving panting behind. The website is intended to to showcase some of my artwork. Obviously smart phones and even tablets will not provide ideal platforms. I might even consider a beefed up version enhanced flash content for a version that would go on CD. Nancy's suggestions seem helpful.
My background leaves me uncomfortable with liquid design by what ever means.
But this discussion reminds me of another issue that I need to update myself what is consider a reasonable download speed these days. Thanks for input.