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moment that I will remember for a lifetime. With the realization that I was alone with such a great masterpiece came a desire to slow the moment down and relish in the beauty of such a personal experience. To be so close to such brilliance simply takes your breath away. While viewing the gallery’s abundance of exquisite artwork, another visitor quietly stated, “I am on an aesthetic high.” BecauseBarnesbeganbuyinghis artwhennoone


elsewas interestedinthese artists’pieces,he earned the loyalty of those artists. In1933, it tookhis friend Matisse three years to complete a spectacular 42-foot mural called “La Dance” above the main gallery’s tall French windows. “It is actually painted on three separate canvases,” revealed Stewart. When asked how something of that magnitude could possibly be moved, in view of the foundation’s upcoming relocation, Stewart uses this opportunity to touch on The Barnes Foundation’s new future home. This has already beentakeninto account inthedesignfor the new building, he explained. The new galleries will be the same scale as the original galleries in Merion and provide the same intimate experience intended by Barnes. According to Stewart, the design of the new


building ontheBenjaminFranklinParkway respects the distinctive nature of the Barnes Foundation, evoking the experience of the existing galleries in Merion, while also providing space to focus on the foundation’s core ideals of educationandconnection to the landscape. The galleries will continue to foster education by including a classroom on each floor to facilitate teaching and further the educational mission of the foundation. The museum is closing its present location in


July 2011 and will reopen in the Parkway Museums District in downtown Philadelphia in the summer of 2012. There has been much controversy about moving


the collection into the city, which some feeling this is against the wishes of Barnes, as set forth in the by-laws of the foundation. This concept is explored inthe2009documentaryTheArt of theSteal.Perhaps a bit one-sided, the filmhas broughtmuchattention to the collection and led to heated discussions by those in the art world. However you feel about the topic, one thing is certain, The Barnes Foundation’s art is a must see. “Youdon’thave to be famous to be intheBarnes,”


said Stewart, motioning to a painting by Lenna Glackens, the young daughter of William Glackens, prominentlyhanging beside apricelesspainting. It is this exact juxtapositionthatmakes viewing the entire collection so interesting and thought-provoking. And that was precisely Albert C. Barnes’ point. 


njlifestyleonline.com LIFESTYLE | January 2011 19


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