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New Barnes Foundation Opens in Philadephia

Thursday 24th May 2012

 
It has been one of the most talked about issues in Philadelphian art in the past decade, but the time has finally come for the new Barnes Foundation to open on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
 
The Barnes Foundation was founded in 1922 by Albert C. Barnes, a doctor and avid supporter of art in the United States. Barnes created the foundation in order to promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts. 
 
The Foundation, and Barnes' enormous collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artworks, from some of the worlds greatest and best-known artists, was housed in Barnes former home in Merion, PA. The huge residence was entirely dedicated to his art collection, even featuring a huge mural by Henri Matisse. 
 
Barnes died in a car crash in 1951, aged 79, and despite the hard work of some of his faithful associates, the Foundation fell into arguably the wrong hands, and a campaign started to have the collection moved away from Barnes' home, and into the centre of Philadelphia. 
 
There was a lot of opposition to the move as it went against the written will of Barnes himself, but it was decided that the collection would get more attention, and pull in more revenue for Philadelphia if it were in a more central location.
 
The new Barnes Foundation building opened last weekend, and is free to the public until next week. The huge modern structure might, at first, be an uneasy home for some of the monumental works of the collection, as it will be a far stretch from where they have been situated whilst in Merion. However, the building is likely to bring a new lease of life to the collection.
 
The first room of the museum has the full size Matisse mural, The Dance, which was taken down from Barnes' home in Merion. The mural is accompanied by Paul Cezanne's The Card Players, key Pointillist works by Georges Seurat and famed works by Pablo Picasso. 
 
There's absolutely no doubt of the quality of the collection, and that it can stand on its own as a rare gathering of artistic legends, but will the new foundation truly uphold the ideals and worked of Albert C Barnes. After all, without him, the collection wouldn't exist at all.
 
The Barnes Foundation
2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
http://www.barnesfoundation.org 
 
Photo © Ben Sutton

Posted on May 24th 2012 on 12:14pm

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