Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The art of the steal - endgame

After nearly a decade of lawsuits and bitter debate, the $20 billion art collection of French impressionist, post-impressionist and modern art amassed by physician Dr Alfred C Barnes has moved to a new architect-designed building near the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

When he died in in 1951, Barnes' will stipulated that the collection never be broken up or leave the two-story villa that housed it in suburban Merion where the display reflected his unconventional theories on art and penchant for buying in quantity (181 Renoirs, 69 Cezannes and almost four dozen early Picassos). However, for 60 years the city's power brokers manoeuvered to assert their vision to relocate the collection downtown to be positioned as a major tourist destination - a power struggle recorded in the documentary The Art of the Steal and one that ended with civic profit as the winner. Read more...
Images: the new Barnes Foundation designed by the Manhattan firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien and the old Barnes Foundation in Lower Merion Township, Philadelphia