The New Barnes Foundation Opens in Philadelphia!

96 800×600 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE

96 800×600 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE

On Saturday, May 19th, the Barnes Foundation reopened in its new location on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.  Despite the controversy surrounding the move, the Barnes has opened to many good reviews, especially regarding the placement of Henri Matisse’s The Joy of Life (1906) which was in a stairwell in the original location.  The arrangement of the collection has remained largely in tact, and there is better space and light to see the work.

Albert Barnes was born in 1872 to a working class family in Philadelphia.  He made his fortune by co-developing the pharmaceutical Argyrol which was used to prevent infant blindness.  While traveling in Paris, he befriended Leo Stein and began to collect art.  In 1922, he founded the Barnes Foundation in order to “promot[e] the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts.”  The collection includes more than 2,500 objects (800 paintings.)  There are a staggering 181 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 69 by Paul Cezanne, 59 by Henri Matisse, and 46 by Pablo Picasso.  Matisse painted a triptych of his dancers specifically for the house.  All of the paintings, objects, sculptures and furniture were arranged by Barnes for their formal qualities for education, not by period, geography, or artist.  African sculptures, European paintings, American furniture and metal work all live and interact together in the same galleries.  The Merion site is still home to the horticultural program and 12-acre arboretum as well as the archives.  It is a truly magical collection (and great for kids!)  If your travels take you to Philadelphia, be sure to add it to your itinerary.  Our Assistant, Mollie, can’t wait to go!

For more information on the Barnes Foundation, visit their website.

For a virtual tour of the collection (when in Merion), visit The New York Times.

For a list of reviews of the new site, visit GalleristNY.

Comments are closed