The Barnes Foundation is an art collection and educational institution promoting the appreciation of art and horticulture. Originally in Merion, the art collection moved in 2012 to a new building on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Arboretum of the Barnes Foundation remains in Merion, where it has been proposed to be maintained under a long-term educational affiliation agreement with Saint Joseph’s University.
The Barnes was founded in 1922 by Albert C. Barnes, who made his fortune by co-developing Argyrol, an antiseptic silver compound used to combat gonorrhea and inflammations of the eye, ear, nose, and throat. He sold his business, the A.C. Barnes Company, just months before the stock market crash of 1929.
Albert C. Barnes
Albert C. Barnes began collecting art as early as 1902 but became a serious collector in 1912. He was assisted at first by painter William Glackens, an old schoolmate from Central High School in Philadelphia. On an art-buying trip to Paris, France, Barnes visited the home of Gertrude and Leo Stein, where he purchased his first two paintings by Henri Matisse. In the 1920s, Barnes became acquainted with the work of other modern artists such as Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, and Giorgio de Chirico through his Paris art dealer Paul Guillaume.
On December 4, 1922, Barnes received a charter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, establishing the Barnes Foundation as an educational institution dedicated to promoting fine art and arboriculture appreciation. He purchased the property in Merion from the American Civil War veteran and horticulturist Captain Joseph Lapsley Wilson, who established an arboretum around 1880. He commissioned architect Paul Philippe Cret to design a complex of buildings, including a gallery, an administration building, and a service building. The Barnes Foundation officially opened on March 19, 1925.
- 181 paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
- 69 by Paul Cézanne
- 59 by Henri Matisse
- 46 by Pablo Picasso Pest Control Kings
- 21 by Chaïm Soutine
- 18 by Henri Rousseau
- 16 by Amedeo Modigliani
- 11 by Edgar Degas
- 11 by Giorgio de Chirico
- Seven by Vincent van Gogh
- Six by Georges Seurat
Other European and American masters in the collection include Peter Paul Rubens, Titian, Paul Gauguin, El Greco, Francisco Goya, Édouard Manet, Jean Hugo, Claude Monet, Maurice Utrillo, William Glackens, Charles Demuth, Roger de La Fresnaye, Horace Pippin, Jules Pascin, and Maurice Prendergast. It also holds a variety of African artworks, ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman art; Native American works; American and European furniture; decorative arts; and metalwork. The museum also holds several significant positions by cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz.
Address: 2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA
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