Food for the Soul: The Barnes Foundation – Transitions

Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Reading (La Lecture), c. 1891. Oil on canvas. The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

“Appreciation of works of art requires organized effort and systematic study. Art appreciation can no more be absorbed by aimless wandering in galleries than can surgery be learned by casual visits to a hospital.”
~ Albert C. Barnes

By Nina Heyn – Your Culture Scout

When Dr. Albert C. Barnes—physician, inventor, chemist, entrepreneur, and one of the greatest collectors in art history—embarked on his adventure with art in 1912, he could not have predicted the hundreds of thousands of visitors who now go through the doors of the Barnes Foundation each year. In fact, when he established the foundation in 1922, he originally envisaged his galleries as a resource for small circles of researchers and students. The world changes, however, and after his passing in 1951, the fabulous trove of modern, mostly French, artworks became the object of a legal tug-of-war. Despite what was specified in Barnes’s will, in 2012 the collection was moved from its original location in the small town of Merion to the center of Philadelphia.

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