Situated next to the Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, the Barnes Foundation is home to one of the world’s greatest collections of Impressionistic, Post-Impressionistic and Modernistic paintings. Founded in 1922 by American chemist, Albert C. Barnes (who had made his fortune in the development of a compound to treat inflammations of the eyes, ears, nose and throat - and other issues), its primary mission was “...promoting appreciation of art and horticulture.” Barnes began his collection of art in 1902 but did not get really serious about it until ten years later. He purchased property in Marion, Pennsylvania (which had already contained an arboretum since 1880) and began constructing a complex for his museum. By December of 1922, Barnes had received a charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the establishment of the Barnes Foundation as an educational institution. Barnes had also constructed his personal residence next door by the time of the official opening of the complex in 1925. The idea of the foundation as a school rather than just a typical museum developed out of his relationship with American Psychologist and Philosopher John Dewey, whom he had met at Columbia University. Barnes, a savvy businessman, was able to sell off his chemical company just months prior to the 1929 stock market crash. The Barnes Foundation collections now contain over 4000 objects, including more than 900 paintings (of which 181 are by Pierre Auguste Renoir) and is estimated to be worth over $25 billion. Barnes designed his collection to be displayed as “wall ensembles,” i.e. paintings alongside hand wrought-iron, antique furniture, jewelry, and sculptures. In 2012, facing financial problems, the administrators of the foundation sought to break the Barnes Trust by moving the collections to Philadelphia so that more of the public could view it. Following lengthy court battles, it was finally able to move to its current location along Benjamin Franklin Parkway, while the 12 acre arboretum remained on the original Marion property.
Sitting next to the Rodin Museum on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation is home to one of the greatest collections of Impressionistic, Post-Impressionistic, and Modernistic art in the world.
Its creator was American chemist, Albert C. Barnes.
Its original location was on property in Merion, Pennsylvania (shown in this archival photo).
Pierre Auguste Renoir’s 1883 portrait “Jeune garçon sur la plage d’yport” is one of the 181 paintings by this master in the Foundation’s collection.
Another of Renoir’s paintings in the collection is this one entitled “Noirmoutier” (1892).
While the largest number of paintings in the collection are by Renoir, other masters are also included, such as Claude Monet’s 1875 “Camille au Metier” seen here...
...Paul Cezanne’s “Portrait of Madame Cezanne” (1885-1887)...
...Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Smoker” (1888).
...as well as Picasso’s “Acrobat and Young Harlequin” (1905).
Barnes created the display design known as “wall ensembles” in which paintings are hung alongside hand wrought-iron pieces, jewelry, etc.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.