"Less than a year after Albert Barnes’s art, uprooted from its original home in Merion, Pennsylvania, occupied new quarters, the collector himself has been removed from the Philadelphia museum that now houses his treasures," writes Bloomberg LP's Katya Kazakina here.
"Barnes, a doctor, chemist and all around eccentric, died in 1951 leaving an astonishing collection that included 181 Renoirs. Though his will expressly forbade moving the pictures from Merion," leaders of the Barnes Foundation, aided by the Annenberg, Lenfest, Perelman, Pew and Roberts family fortunes and nearly $50 million in Pennsylvania taxpayer money, broke Barnes' will and moved his pictures to Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway anyway, next to the city Art Museum whose elite backers were, to Barnes, enemies of popular and proper art study.
"The new museum opened with a special show that many perceived as an effort to soothe critics of the move. It was called 'Ensemble: Albert C. Barnes and the Experiment in Education,' and told the early history of the foundation from its founding in 1922... It was a tribute to Barnes himself, drawing from archival material... The show also included letters signed by his beloved dog Fidele and its specially constructed little bed. A vitrine celebrated Barnes’s development of Argyrol, an antiseptic useful for the treatment of gonorrhea." All gone now:
"This reflection and ode to the man without whom there would be no Barnes Foundation to visit, has now been closed to make room for 'Ellsworth Kelly: Sculpture on the Wall,' which opens on May 4.