Forensic Art

Posted: July 08, 2003

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, the historically black college in Chester County that is desperately trying to hold onto control of the Barnes Foundation, fought to have a forensic audit on the institution released to the public. It's not hard to see why.

The audit strongly suggests that when Lincoln had control, it didn't use it. Former president, Richard Glanton, a Lincoln appointee, did pretty much what he pleased, without accountability.

The evidence makes it harder for Lincoln to show why it should continue to have control over a potentially expanded board of directors, as it has petitioned the Montgomery County Court.

The once-obscure Barnes has made national headlines in recent years. In his will, Dr. Albert Barnes, who hated the art establishment with a passion, stipulated that Lincoln University should name four of the five members of the Barnes board, and that the art never should be moved from Lower Merion.

Now, though, with the Barnes nearly broke, three local foundations have promised to raise $150 million to help the Barnes move its art collection to a new museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The foundations are insisting that the board be expanded to 15 members, and that Lincoln's share remain at four.

Both these changes hold out the best hope to save the Barnes and keep its collection intact.

No major foundation like the Barnes should be controlled by an outside entity - and Lincoln has shown that it is particularly not up to the job. Albert Barnes is dead, but the art he collected is very much alive. Ironically, the best way to preserve his vision is to go against his wishes. The court should sees it that way. *

|
|
|
|
|