Monday, February 7, 2011
Lest you assume it is nothing but guns,dead animals and booze around here, I offer a report on a recent cultural afternoon. The Barnes Foundation is arguably the most incredible private art collection on the planet. My wife and I and 2 guests were treated to a private Docent-led tour last weekend. We had toured the Barnes years ago but felt a renewed urgency to see the collection before it moves from it's home in Wynnewood Penna. to the new museum facility in Philadelphia.
That the Collection is moving at all is something of a scandal and a tragedy...if you are interested in the history and background, just view the documentary "Art of the Steal" and see how the Trust and donative intent of a genius and visionary art collector is pissed on from a great height by moneyed interests and some jealous pricks in the Art world.
Our guests were the parent's of my best friend from college. They are art patrons and afficianados and were thrilled to have a chance to see the exhibit again. They live in Manhattan so we picked them up at 30th st. Station. After brunch at Germantown Cricket Club we arived at the Foundation and cleared security.
The collection is beyond description and if you like Impressionist and Post Impressionist masters, this joint is Nirvana. The pieces are hung according to Dr. Barnes' personal recipe in order to enhance the experience. It is interesting to see the paintings paired with furniture and decorative metal works and the like.
Frankly, some of the Renoirs are lost on me; I mean, how many plump buttocks do we have to look at. However, some of the Degas, like the race horses and jockeys, or Cezane's card game, are right up the Sportsman's alley. Indeed, some of the Winslow Homers pieces are really breathtaking and the collection of hinges and chests is quite astounding.
If you have a chance, visit the Barnes Foundation in it's last months in the orignal home.