Monday, March 21, 2011

The Barnes Foundation


Today I drove two hours to Philadelphia (Lower Merion Township specifically) to visit the Barnes Foundation and view the incredible artwork in his collection before it is moved to a new location. If you watch the movie "The Art of the Steal" as I did, you will want to got see this fantastic collection. Seeing this art arranged as Barnes intended in the setting he created is part of the fascination and learning process.

"THE ART OF THE STEAL is "An un-missable look at one of the art world’s most fascinating controversies and a celebrated selection of the Toronto, New York and AFI Film Festivals, Don Argott’s gripping documentary THE ART OF THE STEAL chronicles the long and dramatic struggle for control of the Barnes Foundation, a private collection of art valued at more than $25 billion..." to see more about the movie, click here.

The foundation has one of the "one of the finest collections of nineteenth and twentieth-century French painting in the world. An extraordinary number of masterpieces by Renoir, Cézanne and Matisse provide a depth of work by these artists unavailable elsewhere. Established as an educational institution the Barnes carries out its mission teaching classes in its galleries and Arboretum. The Barnes welcomes visitors and students throughout the year."

I was astounded by the number of Cezanne and Renoir paintings!! Imagine, looking at the large number of these all in the same place!! "The Barnes Foundation houses one of the finest collections of French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern paintings in the world, including an extraordinary number of masterpieces by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (181), Paul Cézanne (69), and Henri Matisse (59). The collection also includes important works by Pablo Picasso (46), Chaim Soutine (21), Henri Rousseau (18), Amedeo Modigliani (16), Edgar Degas (11), Vincent van Gogh (7), Georges Seurat (6), Edouard Manet (4), and Claude Monet (4).

Although renowned for its late 19th- and early 20th-century European paintings, the Foundation's collection also includes important examples of American paintings and works on paper, including works by Charles Demuth, William Glackens, and Maurice and Charles Prendergast; African sculpture; Native American ceramics, jewelry, and textiles; Asian paintings, prints, and sculptures; Medieval manuscripts and sculptures; Old Master paintings, including works by El Greco, Peter Paul Rubens, and Titian; ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art; and American and European decorative arts and metalwork.

When I made the reservations I secured the Docent tour. Our docent (tour guide) explained why Barnes positioned his paintings with utilitarian metalworks and furniture pieces. It made each room so much more interesting. The lines of the artwork corresponding with the lines and shapes of the objects. He wanted it just so, to be viewed as a learning experience. And it was. Afterward were free to go through the rooms and study and enjoy each piece.

To learn more about this extraordinarily man and his collection follow this link.

I had a GREAT DAY!

Take care, Bohemian


  1. Bohemian:

    So often one sees a collection of the paintings of just one artist. To see the works of so many artists in a single collection must have been exciting.

  2. If I had a bucket list, I think this would qualify as an entry on it.

  3. Sherry and Whit, I have to say this was absolutely incredible. The paintings will be on view next year in a new building closer to the Philadelphia museum of Art. I understand they do intend to position the paintings just as Barnes wanted. But so much has been done with his collection that he specifically set aside money to NOT have done that it remains to be seen. If you have Netflix, you can watch "The Art of the Steal" directly on your computer. It is worth it! It's interesting to see how politicians can change even the most steadfast plans.