By Francine Schertzer on Dec 16, 2012
The Barnes Foundation, established by scientist, entrepreneur, and educator Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922, is home to a legendary art collection. Barnes assembled one of the world’s largest and finest groups of post-impressionist and early modern paintings, with holdings by such luminaries as Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, Rousseau, Modigliani, Soutine, Manet, Monet, Seurat, Degas, Van Gogh, and Gauguin.
The Foundation’s collection also holds significant examples of American art, including works by Demuth, Glackens, and the Prendergasts; African sculpture; Native American ceramics, jewelry, and textiles; Asian paintings, prints, and sculptures; medieval manuscripts and sculptures; Old Master paintings by El Greco, Rubens, Titian, and others; ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art; and American and European decorative arts and metalwork.
The presentation of the collection reflects Barnes’s educational and aesthetic approach: symmetrical “ensembles,” or wall compositions, combine works of different periods, mediums, cultures, and styles for the purpose of comparison and study.
Judith Dolkart is chief curator of the Barnes Foundation. She is the author of James Tissot: The Life of Christ (2009). Martha Lucy is associate curator of the Barnes Foundation.