Monday, May 21, 2012
The Barnes Foundation in its new home
The Barnes Foundation, which opened in 1925 in a Philadelphia suburb, was known for offering art experts and novices alike a unique experience. Established by Albert Barnes in a mansion built especially to house his amazing collection, the museum was designed to provide a new way of looking at art. Combinations of paintings, many by masters like Renoir and Cezanne, with sculpture from Greece, Rome, and Africa, furniture and household objects, emphasized the commonalities among the pieces, and encouraged viewers to seek out themes and conversations.
Several years ago, after a complicated legal battle, the provisions of Barnes’ original plan were overturned, and the Foundation moved to new quarters in central Philadelphia. Although many feared that the move would change or dilute the Barnes experience, in fact the reality is different. The experience is much the same as before, but better: enhanced by the new setting, lighting, and accessiblity.
This article in the New York Times discusses highlights, and this interactive feature shows the rooms as they were in the old location—and as they still are in the new space. The Barnes experience is undiluted, and immensely satisfying.
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