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City: Philadelphia, PA
Country: USAAddress: 300 North Latch's Lane, Merion, PA 19066-172
Website: www.barnesfoundation.org Uploaded artworks: 82 Uploaded artist: 10
The Barnes Foundation is an educational art institution in Lower Merion Township, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. It was founded in 1922 by Dr. Albert C. Barnes, who made a fortune by co-developing an early antimicrobial drug, Argyrol.
Today, the Foundation possesses more than 2500 objects, including 800 paintings estimated to be worth more than $2 billion. Among its collection are 180 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 69 by Paul C├ęzanne, and 60 by Henri Matisse, as well as numerous other modern masters, including George de Chirico, Paul Gauguin, El Greco, Francisco Goya, Edouard Manet, Amedeo Modigliani, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Maurice Utrillo, Vincent Van Gogh, Maurice Prendergast, and a variety of African artworks.
The Foundation has become embroiled in controversy due to a financial crisis that lead to near bankruptcy in the 1990's, leading to the decision to relocate the gallery from Lower Merion to a site in Philadelphia, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
The school was constructed in 1922 in one great villa, designed by Paul Cret, on the grounds of the home of Dr. Albert C. Barnes. The grounds now form a fine arboretum in their own right (The Arboretum of the Barnes Foundation).
Barnes, who derived his fortune from his development of the antiseptic drug Argyrol, began, from 1910 on, to dedicate himself to the pursuit of the arts, assisted at first by the painter William Glackens, with whom he had become friends. In 1912, while in Paris, Barnes visited the home of Gertrude and Leo Stein, where he gained the acquaintance of such artists as Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. In the 1920s he got to know, thanks to the merchant Paul Guillaume, the work of Amedeo Modigliani and Giorgio de Chirico. In 1922 Barnes began to transform his collection into a cultural institution, and in the same year began the job of construction of the center and underwriting the charter that sanctioned the birth of the Barnes Foundation.
The Barnes Gallery was built on the grounds of Captain Joseph Lapsley Wilson's fledgling Arboretum, not on the grounds of Albert Barnes' home. Barnes subsequently built his home next to the gallery, and this building is now the Administration building of the Foundation. Laura Barnes developed the Arboretum and the horticulture program, integral parts of the Barnes Foundation.
The original program of the Foundation, which was not a museum, but a school, was heavily influenced by the philosopher John Dewey, who helped Barnes draw up its mandate. Dewey brought in two of his students to assist him in this, Lawrence Buermeyer (1889-1970) and Thomas Munro. Munro headed the Education Program at the Barnes for several years. In order to preserve the institution's identity, Barnes set out detailed terms of its operation in an indenture of trust to be honored in perpetuity after his death. These included limiting public admission to two days a week so the school could use the art collection for student study, and prohibitions against lending works in the collection, touring the collection, and presenting touring exhibitions. Matisse is said to have hailed the school as the only sane place in America to view art. (Source: Wikipedia)
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