The Barnes Collection– French Impressionism in Philadelphia, PA

By wasatch | Nov 15, 2021
North America > United States > Pennsylvania > Philadelphia > Barnes Foundation

One of the best, and certainly the strangest, museum of French Impressionist art is the Barnes Collection in Philadelphia. Barnes was a classic rich American who bought up a lot of EU culture and moved it to America. More than a bit eccentric. Barnes liked Impressionist art, and he could afford to but a large part of the world's supply, so he did. In his will, Barnes left what remained of his fortune to The Barnes Foundation to operate an art school and a free public museum of his collection as he displayed it in his house. His will required that the collection be displayed in his house, and exactly as Barns had arraigned the art. Unlike museums which hang their paintings one by one in a row at eye level around the walls of gallery, Barnes loaded the walls of his house with paintings stacked from floor to ceiling. Barnes' will also specified that none of the art could be loaned out to other museums, so pretty much the only way to see it is to go the Barns Museum.

The value of the 4,000 items in the Barns Collection is estimated to be $25 billion.

Barns also set up a free art academy for promising art students from poor families.

The mansion ran down and the money ran out. After much legal wrangling, the courts allowed one tour of the collection while a new museum was built in downtown Philadelphia.

United States Barnes Foundation Art Museums North America Pennsylvania Philadelphia

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Written by wasatch
1st international trip: 1965. ~57 EU vacations. Visited 6 continets. Extensive USA travel. You can email me at

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