After a contentious legal battle over moving its collection, the Barnes Foundation opened its new building in downtown Philadelphia this May. Most importantly, the configurations of rooms and of the art remained intact. Alfred Barnes assembled one of the most dazzling collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and early Modern works in the world (and a few Old Masters as well). He viewed the Foundation as a teaching venue, and he hung the paintings in symmetrical groupings he called “ensembles.” These were juxtaposed with folk art furniture, African masks, and many beautiful examples of metalwork—hinges, keys, escutcheons, and utensils that were interspersed with the paintings to “activate” the space. Masterworks: The Barnes Foundation (Skira/ Rizzoli, $40) takes you on a virtual tour of twenty-one of the ensembles with unobstructed fold-out views and detailed close-ups. You will see Matisses (he painted The Dance especially for the main room), Cézannes, Gaugins, Picassos, a lot of Renoirs, but also a Pennsylvania German cupboard and a Zuni Pueblo jar. There is commentary by Chief Curator Judith F. Dolkart, Associate Curator Martha Lucy, and Director Derek Gillman. This beautifully produced volume will inspire a trip to see the collection.
Politics and Prose Bookstore 202-364-1919 Hours and Locations