PHILADELPHIA, 16 May 2006â€”The relocation of the Barnes Foundationâ€™s world-renowned art
collection to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway took a tremendous step forward
today as the Annenberg Foundation, The Lenfest Foundation and The Pew
Charitable Trusts announced the completion of a $150-million dollar
fundraising campaign. Sixty-five donors from across the Philadelphia
regionâ€”corporations, foundations and private citizensâ€”pledged their
support for preserving Dr. Barnesâ€™s legacy of art appreciation and education for all. The
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania contributed $25 million toward the $150 million
goal, and the City of Philadelphia donated the land at 21st Street
and the parkway for the site of the new gallery.
Located in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, a suburb of
Philadelphia, The Barnes
was established in 1922 by Dr.
Albert C. Barnes (1872 - 1951), a patent-medicine millionaire to "promote the
advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts." For
more than eighty years, artists, teachers, historians and people from many
other walks of life have enjoyed the benefits
of the Foundationâ€™s education program and its democratic mission.
The Foundationâ€™s collection of French paintings of
the Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern eras is among the
finest in the world and is noted for masterpieces by Renoir,
CĂ©zanne and Matisse,
which provide a depth of experience of these artistsâ€™ work that is
unsurpassed. Works by Picasso, Seurat, Rousseau, Modigliani, Soutine, Monet, Manet, Degas, Van Gogh
and others are
also a part of the Foundationâ€™s estimated 6-billion dollar collection.
At his death in 1951 at
the age of 79,
Dr. Barnes created an uproar in the fine arts community and society pages when he bequeathed the celebrated collection
to Lincoln University, a well-known and historically African American institution.
In addition, Barnes left strict instructions that the Foundation and its
collection not be moved, nor could individual works be sold.
Since the 1990s The Barnes Foundation has been
embroiled in legal disputes ranging from violations of the terms of the
bequest, alleged racial discrimination to mismanagement as well as
financial difficulties that eventually depleted the endowment. No
doubt local politics, power struggles and a dash of bad faith made for a
Funds raised by the expanded campaign will go
toward endowment, to support the greater range of programs that will
become possible at The Barnes
once the gallery is relocated to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. The
gallery will continue to be the site of The Barnes
Foundationâ€™s courses and workshops, which are eligible for transfer credits at
more than 1,200 colleges and universities throughout the United States.
Art Held Hostage: The Battle over the Barnes
By John Anderson
Hardcover: 288 pages
W. W. Norton
& Company (May 2003)