Trustees of the Barnes say the tour is critical to the collection's long- term survival because it assures them $7 million that could not be raised otherwise. At least $200,000 would be needed to restore those designated to tour; the balance would be used to improve substandard environmental conditions and other problems in the Barnes museum and administration building.
Opposing parties - the Violette de Mazia Trust, the Friends of the Barnes Foundation and three art education students at the Barnes - raised concerns that a tour would put the traveling paintings at risk and would interrupt educational programs at the Barnes for up to two years.
Attorney S. Gordon Elkins, who represents the de Mazia trust, argued that any deviation from the Barnes indenture should be "as limited as possible."
Bruce Kauffman, who presented the trustees' case, said the Barnes museum would close for at least 18 months. Those works that do not tour - some 1,000 paintings, 250 pieces of sculpture, 1,100 pieces of metalwork, 120 pieces of furniture and 100 ceramic pieces - would be stored at the Barnes administration building, or at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Richard Glanton, president of the Barnes board of trustees, and two experts
from the National Gallery of Art testified that the museum's run-down condition has caused mildew, cracks, warping and other damage to several paintings.
A former paintings conservator at the Barnes described parts of Matisse's ''Joy of Life" as so fragile that the paint has collapsed into dust.
If the tour is denied, Glanton has vowed to shut the museum and devote the Foundation's existing resources to preserving paintings that have shown marked deterioration.
Attorneys opposing the tour grilled witnesses about how the paintings would be handled and protected while traveling. They also pressed for firm dates for the start and end of repairs, as well as the project's ultimate cost. Glanton provided only estimates.
Although Glanton said the educational programs would continue elsewhere, opposing attorneys countered that the classes would not be the same, since they are based upon examining the original canvases.
The trustees have submitted a list of 92 paintings to be studied for their suitability to travel, including 20 by Cezanne, 18 by Renoir, 15 by Matisse and seven by Picasso. However, two experts in painting conservation testified that at least four works on that list are poor candidates for travel.
Kauffman said a team of four experts, led by Art Institute of Chicago chief
conservator William Leisher, would determine which paintings were fit to travel.
Elkins and Arthur L. Jenkins Jr., who represents the Barnes students, sought unsuccessfully to subpoena unsigned drafts of "agreements in principle" that the Barnes trustees made with the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and the National Museum of Western Art in Toyko.
Judge Stefan ruled that Glanton's testimony about the agreements was sufficient.
Elkins and Jenkins caused a hush in the courtroom when they pressed Glanton about how much insurance would be placed on the paintings. Kauffman objected loudly, saying that the paintings' worth could not be revealed for obvious security reasons.
But Glanton had a ready reply.
"They will be insured for" - and here he paused briefly for effect - "their full value."