After nearly 5 decades, the Barnes Foundation finally opened its doors, marking a huge impact on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and the international art scene.
Senator Hughes and his wife Sheryl Lee Ralph were on hand for the opening gala at its new home on Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Friday, May 18.
“It is such an honor to be here this evening,” Hughes said. “It is amazing to see the vision of Albert Barnes come to life in this beautiful space for all the world to enjoy. I am very pleased to have been a part of this historical, emotional and spectacular event.”
With the opening of the museum, Philadelphia’s cultural credentials rise. The Barnes Foundation boasts an art collection to rival world-renowned art museums and provides a renewed cultural significance to Philadelphia, the region and Pennsylvania.
The Barnes is the brainchild of Albert C. Barnes. Barnes amassed the world’s largest post-impressionism art collection in his lifetime, displaying them based on shapes, colors, and feelings. The museums original home was in Merion, PA.
The collection features 800 impressionist and post-impressionist paintings in 27 galleries, including the works of Cezanne, Matisse and Picasso. The 12,000-square-foot art building, which sits within a larger L-shaped structure, has art hanging for viewing as directed by Barnes suggested.
Upon his death, Lincoln University, one of the US’s oldest historically black colleges, inherited Dr. Barnes’ entire collection of art. To this day, most of the museum’s philanthropy benefits under-privileged school students.
The social, cultural and political significance that the Barnes Foundation’s new home in Center City brings to Philadelphia is unprecedented.
The Barnes opens with trumpets, tears and celebration at its new Philadelphia home
By Amy S. Rosenberg
INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
With a trumpet fanfare that seemed to erase an eternity of angst and anticipation, the Barnes Foundation’s new campus in Philadelphia was officially dedicated Friday morning in honor of its founder, Albert C. Barnes, with executive director Derek Gillman promising to “dedicate ourselves anew to his passions.”
Review: Galleries shine at the new Barnes
By Edward J. Sozanski
CONTRIBUTING ART CRITIC
Transformation of the Barnes Foundation from a school with an art collection to a museum with art classes is finally complete.
The evolutionary process took more than five decades, but after the public was admitted by court order in 1960, the outcome became inevitable. The collection of some 800 paintings and 2,500 objects, housed in Merion since 1925, is simply too exceptional and too marketable to have remained exclusively a teaching tool.
Hugh E Dillon: Barnes Opening Gala
VIP guest list included Governor Corbett, Mayor Nutter, Brian Williams, Ed Rendell, Hamiltons, Kimmels and more.
by Hugh E Dillion
The Philly Post
The Barnes Foundation opened with a grand gala on Friday night. (I title this photo: WOW, wow, wow.) The new jewel of Philadelphia’s museum collection made its official debut at 6:30 p.m., after many years of anticipation and heated debate on its move from Merion to Philadelphia’s Champs Elysees. Attended by nearly 900 at an eye-popping ticket price of $5,000, the philanthropic guests enjoyed the first look at the new home for Albert Barnes’s art collection. Under a large tent, in the shadow of the building, they dined on a three-course meal by Aramark’s catering arm (1st and Fresh) and enjoyed a program with emcee Brian Williams. The funds raised at the opening galas (there was another one Saturday night after Friday sold out in record time; Saturday’s ticket price $1,500/guest) go directly to the endowment for the preservation of artwork and education programs. Gala co-chairs were Aileen K. Roberts, Barnes Foundation trustee, Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast, James E. Rohr, chairman and CEO of PNC Financial Services Group, and Sharon C. Rohr.
Barnes Foundation Open on the Parkway
Written by Bobbi Booker
The Philadelphia Tribune
As Dr. Albert Barnes (1872-1951) was building his world class collection just outside the city of his birth, he always was inclusive of the African-American talent.
Barnes was born in Philadelphia to working-class parents. As a youngster, his devout Methodist mother would take Barnes to African-American camp meetings and revivals.