June 13, 2010 |
Albert C. Barnes fell in love with the paintings of Pierre-Auguste Renoir at first sight. "I am convinced I cannot get too many Renoirs," he wrote to fellow collector Leo Stein, brother of Gertrude, in 1913. This was only a year after Barnes began to assemble the magnificent art collection now housed at the Barnes Foundation in Merion. The world knows how the irascible doctor's passion played out - in 181 Renoirs, the largest group by the artist anywhere. And of those, about 85 percent belong to what many scholars consider to be the artist's late period, roughly between 1890 and his death in 1919.
February 26, 2010 |
"The Art of the Steal" is a documentary posing as a heist movie - the heist being our city fathers' confiscation of Albert Barnes' priceless art. The movie sides with a coalition of Barnes' friends, students and art lovers who've actively opposed efforts to uproot his suburban collection and convert it into a downtown tourist site and cash machine. Will this rebel alliance succeed, the movie asks, or "will a man's will be broken and one of America's greatest cultural monuments be destroyed?"
November 14, 2009 |
After years of litigation, court hearings, protests, and fund-raising, the renowned Barnes Foundation, long of Latchs Lane in Merion, finally broke ground yesterday morning for a $150 million museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. "Let me say very clearly," Mayor Nutter told an audience of several hundred assembled in an enormous tent at the construction site near 21st Street. "After a long journey, the Barnes is coming to Philadelphia. This is going to happen.
October 3, 2009 |
Nine years after the Barnes Foundation stunned the art world with a high-risk proposal to escape its litigious Merion neighbors by moving its renowned collection of Impressionist art to Philadelphia, it is getting ready to reveal its most closely guarded secret: what its new home will look like. Foundation officials are scheduled to appear before the Philadelphia Art Commission at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday to seek conceptual approval for a new, larger gallery and classroom building on the Parkway between 20th and 21st Streets, the former site of the Youth Study Center.
May 15, 2009
THE Museum of Art was originally going to be built on Lemon Hill and there are drawings showing it there. Someday, it might be said that the new home of the Barnes was going to be built a long half-mile away from the art museum, and there are drawings showing it there, too. The folkloric story of Albert Barnes vs. the establishment is a famous Philadelphia story of blue-collar Barnes making his fortune, buying underappreciated French paintings and...
April 29, 2009
FURTHERMORE ... Hidden costs in moving the Youth Study Center The editorial criticizing "councilmanic privilege," in connection with Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell's holding up a site for the new Youth Study Center at a price to the city, state, and the PHA of $12 million, was commendable ("While families wait," Thursday). However, not included in that figure are the millions of taxpayer dollars in expenses, caused by the delay necessitating an interim move, and the cost of rehabbing the former Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute for use as a temporary YSC. Plus, there is the questionable giveaway of valuable city property to a private institution, particularly in view of the fact that it appears that the city did not engage in a feasibility study of its merit.
August 14, 2008 |
John Morganelli, the Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania attorney general, said yesterday that the fight to keep the Barnes Foundation in its historical home was not over yet. In a campaign swing through Lower Merion, Morganelli said that if elected in November, he would try to reopen a 2004 court case that authorized a move by the Barnes Foundation and its $6 billion art collection to Philadelphia. "To move it, in my view, should be a last resort. I don't think we're there yet," Morganelli told a small crowd of Barnes supporters in front of the museum.
May 2, 2008 |
A walk in the woods with Ernie Schuyler is like no other. He ambles along in slo-mo, stopping here, poking there, looking up, down, overhead and sideways, exclaiming "Wow!" and "Look at this!" and, with humble candor, "How did I miss that?" Schuyler, curator emeritus of botany at the Academy of Natural Sciences, prefers "Ernie" to his given name, Alfred. He's a beer connoisseur in a baseball cap who, despite his fancy title and expertise on sedges and mid-Atlantic plants, is about as down-to-earth as a learned botanist can be. Which is where you'll find him these days: down to earth, literally, walking the grounds at Ker-Feal, the 138-acre retreat in Chester Springs that belonged to the late Albert and Laura Barnes.
October 22, 2007
RE THE Oct. 10 op-ed "Shakedown in West Philly" on the Youth Study Center delay at 48th and Haverford to make way for the Barnes relocation to the Parkway: Just who is being shaken down, Mr. Goldsmith? We don't need another prison anywhere in Philadelphia, with Holmesburg and Eastern State sitting idle. What we need are technical school apprenticeship programs. And to bring back "Made in America. " Has anyone noticed the overwhelming demand for a Dobbins or Williams Academy technical school curriculum?
September 14, 2007
Maybrook as park Re: "Main Line's fabled castle up in the air," Sept. 9: Maybrook is magical. In the '90s, before security guards and gates blocked our access, my sons and I would ride bikes or hike in the "secret passageways" of this beautiful estate. We would explore the overgrown gardens, look into the stagnant pools of the broken fountains, and search the grounds for the pet cemetery rumored to be hidden somewhere in the woods. We were certain we could hear laughter, tinkling champagne glasses, and strains of music coming from the ballroom, where the windows were just slightly too high for us to peer into.