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Old 01-25-2011, 01:30 PM   #1
Ashz
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Default The Barnes

I know we have a good amount of folks from in and around Philly/Md/De, so I wanted to let everyone know where SWMBO and I went last Saturday. We went to the Barnes Foundation outside Philadelphia,in Lower Merion. Firstly I want to preface this by saying I am not some art snob socialite. Quite the contrary.

A while ago I read a book about art theft and the FBI. http://www.amazon.com/Priceless-Unde.../dp/0307461475 This is actually quite a good book, though not usually the type of thing I read. In it The Barnes was featured as where the FBI agent got his start in art education.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnes_Foundation

I won't go into what the Barnes is or was intended to be. Suffice it to say that this is literally one of the LARGEST, if not THE Largest, art collections of masters in the world. And it was Dr. Barnes private collection. And it's right outside Philadelphia. You can read about all the drama over the Barnes through various places on the web, I won't go into that either. I will say this. Where the art is now, is where and how Barnes wanted people to see the art. Not in some museum where every tom, dick and harry can shuffle past it. This place was meant as a school for art lovers, students, historians, plumbers, mechanics, you name it. The art was hung in a manner to compliment and contrast each other in these complicated ensemble's that to a museum curator may look ghastly and crowded. When looked at as Barnes wanted them to be looked it, they are quite astounding.

So I am rambling. It will not be long before everything is moved to the new installation in downtown Philadelphia. Slated to be finished this year. Now is the time to see these works in the setting they were meant by Barnes to be seen.

This was an experience that was extremely humbling, seeing the works there was a great experience to have. I urge anyone who has even a small amount of appreciation for art to take a trip there before it's all moved. Tickets were 15 bucks, parking is 15 as well, but there is street parking a couple of blocks away. It should be noted that kids are allowed, but they are really strict about staying with parents, as you can imagine. This I think is a great experience for kids though. Where else can you see, Cezanne, Seurat, Monet, Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, Renoir, all in the same place and in the sheer numbers that are there.

http://www.barnesfoundation.org/

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Old 01-25-2011, 03:32 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Ashz View Post
I urge anyone who has even a small amount of appreciation for art to take a trip there before it's all moved.
Sounds interesting. Though are the painting there on permanent display or on loan from other museums? I'll have to look the place up next time I'm in Philly. I've spent a lot of time in art museums in Europe, not soo much here in the states unfortunately.
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:38 PM   #3
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The collection was all purchased privately by Dr. Barnes from 1910 or so to his death in 1951. The entire collection as been "acquired" and is moving to a new location within Phl. In short the collection is in the place that Barnes intended for permanent display. However they are now being moved. There is also a documentary available on netflix last I checked about the entire collection and the struggle to keep Barnes last wishes.

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Old 01-25-2011, 04:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reminder.

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Old 01-25-2011, 07:16 PM   #5
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The movie was called, "The Art of Steal." I never saw it, but I head really good reviews from a friend.

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Old 01-25-2011, 07:29 PM   #6
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I saw the film. I've probably watched every single documentary streaming on Netflix that is worth it's salt. Just a couple days ago watched the one about the theft of Vermeer and Rembrandt from the Gardner.

Seemed like a well orchestrated ordeal.

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Old 01-25-2011, 08:03 PM   #7
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My wife has been there, I have not. The moving is a bit of a stink or so I have heard. Apparently the neighbors complain about having the gallery where it currently is. Too much traffic, etc, etc. Fancy house neighboorhood. My wife heard that only some many people are allowed per day in an attempt to pacify the locals. Maybe even no bus loads of people? This may be part of the motivation for the move. I think though that I heard they may sell a few pieces to cover the cost of the move - that has raised it's own stink.

Any locals have the details?

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Old 01-25-2011, 09:08 PM   #8
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Generally speaking, the way this went down, put's the "Barnes Foundation" now in a position to do whatever it wants. If it needs to sell paintings it will. The biggest travesty here is that they have line by line disregarded any and all wishes of Barnes, that was clearly spelled out in his estate plans. It's sad that it's essentially about money but that is what it is. There has been a great deal of politics involved and a large amount of cronyism and collusion on the part of many a people.

It is somewhat ironic that I learned about the Barnes from a book about art theft. It has taken literally decades to pull it off, and many court rulings to nullify Dr. Barnes last wishes, but this seems to be quite the heist itself.

As for the neighbors, it gets very tricky. During some of the various changes in administration the Barnes has had, it was opened to the general public. This is when the neighbors began to complain. From what I can tell a good deal of the neighbors know what the Barnes is, and what it was intended to be. You can even see signs in the yards crying to stop the move of the collection. I believe that some of them are a part of http://www.barnesfriends.org/files/about_us.html

Either way, it's moving so there is really nothing more but to hope that the spirit of the exhibit is kept and the collection as a whole is left intact. With the way it has been hijacked thus far I am not sure how hopeful we can be.

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I saw the film. I've probably watched every single documentary streaming on Netflix that is worth it's salt. Just a couple days ago watched the one about the theft of Vermeer and Rembrandt from the Gardner.

Seemed like a well orchestrated ordeal.
Tx what was the name of that documentary? Do you recall?
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