If you don’t already know one of the most amazing US Museums has been embroiled in a decade + law suit of epic proportions. The Barnes Foundation, which “houses one of the finest collections of nineteenth and twentieth-century French painting in the world” is about to be moved six miles from it’s original home outside “Philly Proper” to the center of Philadelphia.
This to be a tragedy for many reasons. Chief among them is that the collection has been held in the former residential home of Albert C. Barnes, founder and original collector of this vast and amazing collection of artworks. A deep eccentric, Mr. Barnes stipulated in his will that not only should the paintings remain in his house, but they should *remain exactly as they were placed* as he himself curated the works. In addition to his collection of paintings he had a fondness for the American Amish; right next to a Cezanne you might find a highly detailed, hand made linen trunk hewn and painted by hand. It’s an odd, but beautiful coupling.
It’s a tragedy for the art world and art lovers because this setting is so unlike the normal “sterile” environments of most museums. Its personable, warm, and emotionally tactile. It’s a tragedy for the American tenet “right to personal property”. How the courts and the judgement of questionable trustees could supersede this man’s personal, explicit wishes is a complete injustice. Not to mention, how this artwork might go missing or damaged in the upcoming move is detailed in an interesting article here.
RIP original Barnes Foundation.