A Museum, Reborn, Remains True to Its Old Self, Only Better
The new Barnes Foundation, in a new shell in Philadelphia.
By ROBERTA SMITH
PHILADELPHIA — The Barnes Foundation’s move from suburban Philadelphia to the center of the city caused art lovers lots of worry.
Devotees of this great polyglot collection, heavy with Renoir, Cézanne and Matisse, which the omnivore art shopper Albert C. Barnes amassed between 1912 and his death in 1951, were appalled by the idea. Barnes spent years obsessively arranging his installation cheek-by-jowl in the mansion in Lower Merion, Pa., that he built for the purpose and opened in 1925, and he stipulated that, after he died, it should remain exactly as it was.