Barnes Collection

Apr 8th, 2013, 01:44 PM
  #41  
 
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My thoughts as well, Michael on the ability to upgrade the original facility.
The downtown elite wanted the collection so much that their political influence was enough to overturn Dr. Barnes VERY clear wishes that the collection remain where it was.
I have a trust that specifies exactly where my money will go after my dog and I get hit by a logging truck. Should my #@&%#@ brother-in-law get the money because he's a deadbeat?
If you never visited the original site how can you be in a position to state that the new display is superior?
" Perhaps Barnes didn't want his collection to last terribly long" is just nonsense.
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Apr 8th, 2013, 02:45 PM
  #42  
 
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I guess I missed something. Who said the new display is "better"? Certainly not me. I even admitted that of course some things were "lost" in the transition.

And logandog, of course that comment of mine was nonsense. Almost as much so as the various comments that seem to ignore any advantages of the new museum, and there are some that are pretty hard to deny no matter which side of this political football you're on. It's easy to pretend the old facility could have been transformed to accompany all the new programs, accessibility issues, etc., but clearly not everyone agreed with that . And you can put down the new facility all you want, but you'll just have to ignore all the awards and raves it's received. It's pretty hard to keep a mid twentieth century dream as exciting in the twenty-first century as it originally was, without some changes. The bottom line? You can't please everyone.
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Apr 8th, 2013, 03:06 PM
  #43  
 
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IMHO, it's not a matter of "pleasing everyone", it's a matter of carrying out the wishes of the testor. Barnes was very specific in what he wanted. It doesn't matter what kind of better lighting is available in the new building. That's what logandog meant by his - um - brother-in law. If you write a will, you want the terms of your will to be carried out, no matter what other people think is "better".

The moneyed elite broke Barnes' will. It's that simple.
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Apr 8th, 2013, 03:40 PM
  #44  
 
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Exactly, but my point is no one can assume what things will be like 60 years in the future. Or 300. No time limits or room for change in the future is just plain a mistake in making a will. Any good attorney will suggest that you can't assume what the future will bring. And let's face it, many of Barnes actions in life with his collection were even more bizarre than anything that has happened since.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 07:47 AM
  #45  
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Should my #@&%#@ brother-in-law get the money because he's a deadbeat?

Yes, if he survives you by 50+ years.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 05:28 PM
  #46  
 
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Elberko, thanks for the suggestion. annetti
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Apr 12th, 2013, 12:55 PM
  #47  
 
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annetti, we are visiting the Barnes next Friday, 2 weeks ago I reserved tickets and there were not a lot of choices for time slots. The website reservation system can be a bit deceiving, days that appear to have a lot of times open may only have 1 or 2 tickts during certain hours. You really don't know what is available until you click on a specific date/time. Days that looked like they had plenty of open times wouldn't allow me to book because 4 tickets were not available for times I chose. Book as soon as you know your plans are firm. The reservation desk is also extremely helpful, oh and for what it's worth, I was told no refunds/exchanges on tickets. Looking forward to our visit!
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Apr 12th, 2013, 04:15 PM
  #48  
 
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I visited the Barnes in both locations and enjoyed both very much.

I think if someone has a private art collection and stipulates in their will that it continue to be displayed in a particular manner, then if their family has the money to do so, those wishes should be respected.

But as soon as it takes public dollars to fund, the game changes. If my tax dollars are helping, then I want it accessible to more people.
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Apr 12th, 2013, 08:26 PM
  #49  
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But as soon as it takes public dollars to fund, the game changes. If my tax dollars are helping, then I want it accessible to more people.

Since the rooms are the same size, it is not clear that the maximum limit of visitors per day is any different. The access is now easier.

Since most of the money needed to move the collection was private, why was the state involved anyway? and in an underhanded manner, according to the Art of the Steal.
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Apr 12th, 2013, 09:09 PM
  #50  
 
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I am going to sound like an elitist a$$hole,but here we go.
The art was there, for EVERYONE to see, if you wanted.
Not very difficult at all,welcoming to those who had the desire.
Now,after your cheesesteak and Liberty Bell you are scheduled to walk by some French paintings on your way to the hotel.
My value system is saying "wrong".

.
logandog is online now  
Apr 13th, 2013, 12:39 AM
  #51  
 
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There's one thing which hasn't been mentioned.

I haven't seen the collection in its new setting, but there was a personal intimacy about the collection being on the Merion estate, a feeling that one was drawn in to participate in a feast for the eyes. Most big city museums impress me as being very impersonal. We shall see.

I just saw a very interesting movie on the putting together of the Manet special exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

http://www.lohud.com/viewart/2013041...ch-come-cinema

It took them five years to put this exhibit together. They had tiny little pictures of each painting and they had small duplicates of the rooms without a ceiling so they could reach in and place the small pictures into the rooms and move the small pictures around to see which would be a better arrangement. Everything down to the color of the walls was considered. Five years and Barnes spent his entire arranging his collection. Some may think it's too random a display but, for me, there is - as they say - "method to his madness".

The next time it'll probably be best for me to spend several days in Philadelphia, as one can get sensory overload pretty quickly with such a wealth of beautiful paintings.

Enjoy your visit, Margo!

BTW, on those art movies, two more are coming this year: Munch in June and Vermeer in October.
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Apr 13th, 2013, 04:52 AM
  #52  
 
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Yes,logandog, you described how you sound very well in that last post. Of course more tourists (gasp of horror here) do now see the collection, which clearly does ruin your feeling of privilege having seen it before. Sorry for that.
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Apr 13th, 2013, 07:34 AM
  #53  
 
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Another opinion. Sorry if this is discussed above, I quit reading when the bickering started. My husband, two friends and I drove from Maryland to the previous location some years ago.

My recollection is surely confused by time but, to a person, we thought it was difficult to find. I felt that the layout wasn't particularly inviting. And the strange arrow-type wall things Mr. Barnes installed to "guide" one's eyes according to his personal vision were a distraction. Apparently, he also forced his employees to "enjoy" his collection whether they wanted to or not!

However he set up things, the foundation was going to run out of money. And later, I heard about the huge debate about how to save the collection.

I do hope to see the new venue to compare. As much as I disliked Mr. Barnes' view, I hope it was replicated by the Pew Foundation (is that the righ groupt?). I think he must have been a controlling SOB with enough money to collect amazing art. What would have happened if the foundation had gone under? Wouldn't all that art been have sold separately?
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Apr 13th, 2013, 05:11 PM
  #54  
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And the strange arrow-type wall things Mr. Barnes installed to "guide" one's eyes according to his personal vision were a distraction.

If you are referring to the forged metal hinges, they are in the new venue.
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Apr 13th, 2013, 06:36 PM
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TDudette: I think he must have been a controlling SOB with enough money to collect amazing art. What would have happened if the foundation had gone under? Wouldn't all that art been have sold separately?

Firstly, Alfred Barnes came from working class family. His father was a butcher who got one arm cut off (can't remember what kind of accident or in war). Barnes trained to be a physician and a chemist. He invented a drug that helped many people and in the process he made a lot of money. In other words, his wealth came from his own "blood, toil and sweat".

Secondly, he was able to amass a large number of paintings because he sold his company just before the Great Depression hit and when it hit, he was able to buy paintings from the ones who had lost their wealth in the stock market and had to sell their paintings. He also had met some of the artists like Matisse at Gertrude and Joe Stein's, so he also bought directly from the artists.

Thirdly, he intended that the art collection be used for art students and was never something for the general public as in a museum. His rooms are set up for teaching purposes, not for museum purposes to be viewed by the public, which is why you will see paintings from different periods gathered together for teaching purposes, to contrast and compare styles, etc.

Fourthly, his wife was very much into horticulture and the gardens were, in a way, supposed to be complementary to the art work indoors as there was also an educational program developed for the gardens. This concept has been completely destroyed by removal of the art to a bland architecture building with nothing done to relate the art to the outdoors.

Fifthly, Barnes was very interested in the underprivileged. To this end, he developed a relationship with Lincoln College, a small black college in his area. He opened his collection to Lincoln College art students and his relationship with Lincoln College was so close that at his death, four of the five members of his Board were stipulated to be from Lincoln College.

Sixthly, through mismanagement the art school came near to bankruptcy, and through the greed of others, the Barnes Foundation lost control of the collection. The Board of the Barnes Foundation has now been increased from five to fifteen. Lincoln College has lost control of the collection.

A "controlling SOB" or a man with talent, compassion and a personal view of how to teach art?
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Apr 13th, 2013, 08:18 PM
  #56  
 
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NeoPatrick.
How strange and interesting that I have found a new person on the interweb with whom I can exchange opinions.
I don't know you but I respect you.
logandog is online now  
Apr 14th, 2013, 05:48 AM
  #57  
 
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Things or forged metal hinges, they're still distracting. Thank, Michael.

Didn't know (or remember) about the coordinating garden or Lincoln, easy. Thanks. But I'm pretty certain his employees were required to visit his collection. And yet, What would have happened if the foundation had gone under? Wouldn't all that art been have sold separately?
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Apr 14th, 2013, 07:44 AM
  #58  
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Things or forged metal hinges, they're still distracting

I wonder if the next generation of curators of the collection will feel the same about that, the folk art, the African art, and any paintings that doe not qualify as major; turning the museum into a specialty museum similar to the Neue Galerie or the Frick Collection. The will was broken once, it can be broken down some more as time goes by.

As for the foundation going under, one needs to see the Art of the Steal to understand that other solutions than the current one might have been possible.
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Apr 14th, 2013, 08:01 AM
  #59  
 
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TDudette: Those are good questions. You will probably have most of your questions answered by that show that Michael has been recommending "The Art of the Steal". I just checked and it's available on Netflix.

Isn't the whole purpose of conservation, conservation? After all, we have all these "historical buildings" being maintained. If the big moneyed interests had really been interested in conservation, they would have helped to keep the Barnes where it was and to have helped it to maintain its original atmosphere and use as a teaching facility. As it is, the art teaching facility remains, but without the tools of teaching that art. It's pretty much like having a master cabinmaker but without his tools.

It wasn't just the big moneyed interests from outside, it was also the nearsightedness of the local neighbors, the town and the county, who woke up too late to realize that they were going to lose one of the greatest art collections in the Western world to Philadelphia. All those sleepy years they could have done something, they did nothing, so now too late.

However, it was big money and big government (the state) that joined together to break Barnes' will, move the collection to Philadelphia, convert the school into a museum in order for Philadelphia to make more money by bringing in hordes of tourists which was exactly what Barnes didn't want. You have to go back into history to understand his POV. After all, it wasn't that he didn't want to share his paintings with the rest of the world, he did try an exhibit of his paintings only to be laughed out of the room at a time when Impressionism and post-Impressionism (small "p") weren't appreciated. So, he probably said to himself: "OK, so the movers and shakers of the art world don't appreciate my paintings, then I'll just teach art students to appreciate my paintings and close my collection to an unappreciative world." There was no predicting at the time that his collection would mushroom exponentially in value and become the prize on which big money including big "charities") and big politicians would cast a greedy eye.

He had a fantastic eye for art, which is why I want to go back and visit the paintings again. Whatever did he see in those door hinges to make him place them in juxtaposition to certain paintings? I'll probably never understand.

BTW, if you do get to watch "The Art of the Steal", you might be interested to know, if you didn't know already, that there's a Perelman's wing to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Just a teaser.
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Apr 14th, 2013, 08:08 AM
  #60  
 
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Thank you, Margo. And thanks everyone for the education about the history of the collection. I vaguely recall the Lincoln connection. I have The Art of the Steal on my queue and plan to watch it soon.
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