Albert Barnes Foundation Analysis

1720 Words 7 Pages
Jamie Lancaster
Professor Marissa Vigneault
ARTH 3740
The Art of the Steal
Albert C. Barnes, a man with an inventive outlook and an explicit objective, built the world’s greatest collection of Post-Impressionist art. After his death, Barnes left his collection and educational institution in a trust. To break apart his trust is to break apart Barnes vision. He mapped out the future of his institution, and for a time after his death, his wishes were followed. The Barnes Foundation gained more attention. With increased traffic in the suburbs, the residents complained. The building was mismanaged, and the trustees and court decided to move the collection. The move baffles Barnes’ supporters and riles up art enthusiasts. Barnes’ supporters claim
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Once he died, the works were left in a decrepit building. Before his death, Barnes wanted his institution to be used for educational purposes. He built a mansion build in the suburbs. Albert C. Barnes was a man who chose a life of isolationism. “Barnes was a conflicted figure, a man of titanic intelligence, unflinching will, and self-destructive pride.” The institution received little, if any, publicity. It was reserved for students of art and the general public. He never wanted the works to be moved, and he never wanted them to be sold. He enslaved the works in his home. The institution did not have the proper conditions to store fine art. They could not guarantee the safety of a collection worth 25 billion. Since the building wasn’t in pristine condition, the works were in danger. The building was deteriorating. In fact, it could use several repairs. If the building is in bad condition, the art is in danger. After watching The Art of the Steal (2009) I saw how the building leaked. This water could and would have damaged the paintings. An incredible loss was imminent unless the Barnes were to be moved post haste. The lighting was poor, and the paintings were not in an ideal viewing setting. The new location resolves this problem. The building provides air condition, climate control, proper lighting and space. The paintings have room to breathe. Experts tend to the works and preserve …show more content…
The trust or will written is only as good as the lawyer who wrote it. With the Barnes, the collection passed down through legal channels and then eventually given to the city of Philadelphia. Barnes’ supporters claim the collection is the victim of a horrible crime. Purists would have had the Collection stay in its original location. In The Art of the Steal, the interviewees claim the movement of the Barnes Collection is the worst case of cultural vandalism since world war II. Hitler is the possibly the most despised figure in recent history. The minute Barnes’ supporters compared the situation to Hitler, they showed how desperate their efforts truly are. Even though Barnes wrote up a trust, problems arose after his death. After he died, it was up to the trustees to decide what happened to the collection. There’s no denying a legacy was lost in the movement of the Barnes. If he wanted to educate people about art, he has done so. The collection has made its way across the modern world. It has shown in major influential cities like Paris. More and More people are able to see these works, they just happen to be organized in a space different to what Barnes’ ideal setting would

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