the barnes, a modern museum


Last weekend Adam and I visited The Barnes Foundation. We've been trying to go since the onset of our relationship, and we finally made it! 

The museum is an exhibit of art that was owned by Dr. Albert C. Barnes, an avid art collector at the first half of the 20th century. The walls are flooded with famous geniuses such as Cezanne, Picasso, El Greco, Renoir, Matisse, and so on. My only complaint was that he collected more post impressionist works and minimal pieces from my two main men: Monet and Van Gogh. What he did have of theirs was gorgeous, however.

He bought everything from Native American jewelry to Cubist paintings and Byzantine works. Interestingly for someone of his time, he believed that a hinge was just as much an expression of human creativity as was a painting. He collected it all and meticulously arranged it throughout the many rooms of his luxurious mansion in symbolic assemblies. Matisse even painted a fresco-inspired ceiling work just for him. 

When Barnes died he wrote it in his will that his home should be opened up as a museum for all to see. He specifically stated that the pieces should remain exactly how he hung them and never move from the house. Unfortunately, just this past year they went against Barnes' wishes and moved the collection to a brand new museum. The structure was built specifically for his collection on the Philadelphia Parkway, not far from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

Although some may say they should have never moved the collection, it's new home is absolutely stunning. An architectural fete, it floods with sunlight so that viewers can see the pieces at different times of day under varying natural light. It features floors made of recycled wood from the Coney Island boardwalk, an impressive blanket fold ceiling, and beautiful grounds full of reflecting pools and trees. 

I highly suggest a visit to the Barnes. Not only is his collection phenomenal, but the place itself is gorgeous.

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