Should the Barnes Collection be Moved?


The Barnes collection contains priceless impressionist, post-impressionist and early modern paintings, among other art.  It is really fascinating to think about what goes into moving such a priceless (well, the estimated value is $25 billion) and massive collection (2500 objects, including 800 paintings) - the armored trucks, the FBI, etc. - but most people are interested in something else altogether.

Should the Barnes Collection even be moved?

Some opponents of that move proffer that Barnes had his own creative vision on how the paintings are arranged and should not be disturbed.  Some say that his will is being broken by moving the collection. 

Those who do not oppose the move say that what matters most is the paintings themselves, and as long as they are accessible, it doesn't matter where they are.

I find this particularly fascinating because not only am I interested in art, but I also happen to be a paralegal who specializes in estate administration.

Either way you look at it, I must say I'm sad that I didn't get to see the artwork in its original home.  To see Dr. Barnes' vision on how the pieces should be hung and arranged.  And to amass that amount of beautiful artwork! 

It's too late now to see it in its original location - the final tour has been done and the lights are out.

According to the Barnes Foundation, the new location in Philadelphia has been designed to invoke the same intimate feeling as the original site in Merion.  The paintings will be arranged in a manner similar to Dr. Barnes' original vision.  There will be gardens in the new location as well.

The Foundation will continue to maintain and expand the gardens at the Merion location, opening up new possibilities for horticulture education.

The main reason for the move is to allow for more visitors to the collection, since there are strict rules about visiting galleries in its current location.

This argument has been going on for years and the decision only recently made in the court system.  A documentary movie, The Art of the Steal, was made about the controversy.  

A cool feature of the Barnes Foundation's website is a webcam on the new building in downtown Philadelphia that shows a new photo every 15 minutes.

Whatever your opinion on whether or not the collection should be moved, the new Philadelphia location is slated to open to the public in late Spring of 2012. 

I would love to know your opinion on this.  Please leave your thoughts below in the comments.

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