Ensemble view, Room 2, north wall. Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, 2012.
Assembled by Dr. Albert C. Barnes between 1912 and 1951, the Barnes collection is renowned as one of the finest holdings of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings in the world. The collection also includes important examples of African sculpture, early twentieth-century American painting, Pennsylvania German decorative arts, Native American ceramics, old master paintings, as well as metalwork, jewelry, textiles, and antiquities.
Among its major holdings are: 181 works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (the largest single group of the artist’s paintings); 69 works by Paul Cézanne; important paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Georges Seurat; 59 works by Henri Matisse; 46 works by Pablo Picasso; 16 works by Amedeo Modigliani; 125 African sculptures, masks and tools.
November 8, 2014–February 16, 2015
William J. Glackens (American, 1870–1938). Cape Cod Pier, 1908. Oil on canvas, 26 x 32 inches (66 x 81.3 cm). Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University; Gift of an Anonymous Donor, 85.74
The first comprehensive survey of William Glackens in nearly half a century, this exhibition brings together more than 90 works from public and private collections throughout the United States. William Glackens presents key works from each decade of Glackens’s long career, revealing his absorption of French modernism in his attempt to push American painting forward. Several important canvases and works on paper will be on view for the first time.
A Philadelphia native, Glackens (1870–1938) studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. There, and as an artist for the Philadelphia Press, he became friends with Robert Henri, George Luks, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan, the core of the group that later formed “The Eight” in reaction to the National Academy of Design’s hidebound exhibition policies. The group exhibited together only once, in 1908, creating the opening wedge in the struggle to democratize the process by which artists could show and sell their work.
The exhibition at the Barnes Foundation reunites under one roof for the first time since 1908 six of the seven works that Glackens exhibited in The Eight’s show. One of the works, Race Track (1908–1909), is on view in the Barnes’s collection gallery (Room 12); the location of the seventh work is unknown. Furthermore, three works from the 1908 exhibition—At Mouquin’s (1905) from the Art Institute of Chicago, The Shoppers (1907-08) from the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Va., and In the Buen Retiro (1906), from the Ted Slavin Collection—are among a group of seven significant works not shown at the other venues of William Glackens. The remaining works are: Chateau Thierry and its study (1906), from the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, Calif.; Shop Girls (1900), from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Bathers at Bellport (1912), from the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.
Glackens was a boyhood friend of Albert C. Barnes (1872–1951), the Philadelphia-born pharmaceutical entrepreneur, self-made millionaire, art collector, and creator of the Barnes Foundation. They knew each other from Philadelphia’s prestigious Central High School, and when they renewed their friendship in 1911, Glackens guided Barnes toward an appreciation of modern French painting. In early 1912, Barnes wrote to Glackens: “Dear Butts, I want to buy some good modern paintings. Can I see you on Tuesday next in New York to talk about it?” The following month, with $20,000 from Barnes in his pocket, the artist traveled to Paris on a buying trip and returned with 33 paintings, among them works by Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Maurice Denis, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. These purchases became the cornerstone of Barnes’s fabled collection. The two men remained close, and Barnes became his loyal and most important patron. Barnes found Glackens indispensable, stating in 1915, “The most valuable single educational factor to me has been my frequent association with a life-long friend who combines greatness as an artist with a big man’s mind.”
Curated by writer and art historian Avis Berman and co-organized by the Barnes Foundation, the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY, and the Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. At the Barnes Foundation, the exhibition was coordinated by Judith F. Dolkart, the Mary Stripp & R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, and former deputy director of art and archival collections and Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes.
William Glackens is sponsored by
with generous funding from the Sansom Foundation and
the William Penn Foundation.
Support is also provided by Leigh and John Middleton,
Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund,
James J. and Frances M. Maguire,
The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation,
an anonymous donor, Laura and Bill Buck,
Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, Mr. and Mrs. Bernard Spain,
Regina and Charles Cheever, Harriet and Bernie Gross,
Pheasant Hill Foundation, Adele and Harold Schaeffer,
Constance Smukler, The Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation,
and The Friends of Glackens.
William Glackens is organized and presented by
Nova Southeastern University’s Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale,
the Parrish Art Museum, and the Barnes Foundation,
with pan-institutional support from the Sansom Foundation,
the Henry Luce Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts,
Vontobel Swiss Wealth Advisors, and Christie’s.
The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from
the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Mark Dion, Judy Pfaff, Fred Wilson: The Order of Things
May 16–August 3, 2015
Press Preview: Tuesday, May 12
Mark Dion, Judy Pfaff, Fred Wilson
The Order of Things presents three new large-scale installations by internationally renowned artists Mark Dion, Judy Pfaff, and Fred Wilson. Each of these works, created specifically for the Barnes Foundation, is inspired by the unusual way that Dr. Albert C. Barnes chose to display his own collection. The exhibition will also feature an installation designed by Barnes—a small room that no longer exists.
The curious display of the collection is one of the hallmarks of the Barnes Foundation. In designing his “ensembles” nearly a century ago, Barnes ignored all the traditional rules of museum display, mixing together modern paintings and old masters, furniture, metalwork, and household items. Formal concerns, rather than history or chronology, guided the organization of his collection. In overturning traditional categories of display, Barnes invented his own highly structured system for ordering the world. Much like an installation artist, he endowed objects with new meanings simply by shifting the context.
Audacious, liberating, maddening, Barnes’s ensembles are ripe for interrogation. Each of the invited artists responds to the ensembles in a way that is both thoughtful and provocative. Mark Dion’s piece imagines the tools of a naturalist arranged according to Barnesian principles; it considers the “destructive” nature of collecting, or what happens when an object moves from the world into a collector’s personal microcosm. Judy Pfaff plays on the diversity of Barnes’s ensembles, bringing together a dizzying array of objects and imagery linked by form rather than history, but she explodes Barnesian symmetry along the way. Fred Wilson creates a piece using rarely seen objects from Barnes storage.
This exhibition will serve to better orient visitors to the Foundation, helping to explain the philosophy behind the ensembles and their importance in the history of museum practice. At the same time—and in keeping with Barnes’s commitment to the development of critical thinking skills—this exhibition will invite visitors to think actively about the display of collections more generally. How are other museums organized? Are value systems and hierarchies implied in the presentation? What “meanings” do museum displays inevitably create?
Curated by Martha Lucy, Assistant Professor, Drexel University; and Consulting Curator, Barnes Foundation.
The Order of Things is sponsored by
Contributing sponsor for the exhibition is
Leadership gifts in support of the exhibition have been given by
the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund and Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz,
the AG Foundation, Jane and Leonard Korman, Marsha and Jeffrey Perelman,
and Katherine and Keith Sachs.
Strength and Splendor: Wrought Iron from the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen
September 19, 2015–January 4, 2016
Press Preview: Tuesday, September 15
Wrought Iron from Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen
The world’s most important collection of wrought iron objects—door knockers, garden implements, jewelry, keyhole escutcheons, locks, bas reliefs, signs, strongboxes, surgical tools—from the Musée le Secq des Tournelles, will complement one of the most intriguing collections at the Barnes Foundation: the 887 pieces of European and American metalwork that punctuate the Foundation’s signature wall arrangements of old master and modern paintings.
Albert C. Barnes underscored the formal affinities that these objects shared with the “motives and arabesques” in the paintings in his Gallery, neither identifying individual objects nor explaining their use. Often, he combined disparate objects—shoe buckles and door hinges, ladles and hasps—to create new forms. In a 1942 letter to the American artist Stuart Davis, Barnes noted that the anonymous craftsman of such functional items was “just as authentic an artist as a Titian, Renoir, or Cézanne.”
This exhibition will explore the fabrication, function, and intricate ornamentation of approximately 150 masterworks from the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen. They range in date from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, and they show iron as unexpectedly versatile, with its capacity to convey both masculine heft and an impossibly fragile delicacy that is hard to square with its industrial image. Objects ennobled with silver and gold inlays show iron as more than base metal. Some are deadly serious in their efficacy; others delight as much by their wit as by their exquisite intricacy—locks that represent their own function, for example, one with a built-in faithful guard dog or one with spring-loaded manacles ready to catch a lock-pick—an 18th-century sign in the shape of a greyhound that looks like something Calder might have made two centuries later, an early electrified bat-shaped night-light.
Assembled in the 19th century by Jean-Louis-Henri Le Secq Destournelles (1818–1882), the celebrated photographer of French architectural monuments, and his son Henri (1854–1925), the Le Secq collection was shown to great acclaim at the Exposition Universelle in 1900 and installed until the 1920s at the Musée des arts décoratifs in Paris. In the early 1920s, Le Secq acquired the deconsecrated church of Saint-Laurent in Rouen, where he lived and arranged his extensive collection of European and Middle Eastern objects by type, in distinctive, often symmetrical, wall arrangements and in custom-made vitrines. Barnes, who traveled frequently to France as he built his collection, is believed to have visited Rouen to see this impressive holding. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue containing an essay on Barnes’s collecting of metalwork, one on the collection at Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, and short essays on groups of works, and an illustrated glossary of technical terms.
Ellen Harvey: Metal Painting
September 19, 2015–January 4, 2016
Press Preview: Tuesday, September 15
To accompany Wrought Iron from the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen, the Barnes Foundation has commissioned Metal Painting a site specific work by Ellen Harvey (b. 1967) that engages with the iconoclastic placement of the Foundation’s metalwork in the context of its holding of paintings. Harvey’s oeuvre explores the traditions of the history of art and confounds the expectations of the viewer in institutional contexts. A graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program, she has exhibited her work extensively in the United States and abroad.
Curated by Judith F. Dolkart, the Mary Stripp & R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, and former deputy director of art and archival collections and Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes.
Support for Ellen Harvey: Metal Painting is also provided by John H. McFadden and Lisa D. Kabnick.
Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change
February 21 – May 9, 2016
Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881 - 1973). Still Life with Compote and Glass, 1914–15. Oil on canvas, 25 x 31". 1931.087. Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH. © 2013 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
In partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art (Ohio), the Barnes Foundation is organizing the exhibition Picasso and The Great War, Experimentation and Change, which will premiere in Philadelphia in February 2016 before traveling to Columbus in June 2016.
Inspired by the Columbus Museum of Art’s 1914–15 Picasso Still Life with Compote and Glass, and the Barnes’s extensive Picasso holdings, the exhibition will be comprised of about 45 works from American and European museums and private collections. With special emphasis upon the tumultuous years of the First World War, this exhibition focuses upon the artist’s oeuvre from 1912 to 1924 during which time Picasso utilized both cubist and classical modes in his art. Picasso’s shifts in style became a means of not repeating, in his words, “the same vision, the same technique, the same formula.”
Curated by Simonetta Fraquelli, a specialist in early 20th century European art. Additional Venue: Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH.
ABOUT THE BARNES FOUNDATION
The Barnes Foundation was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to "promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture." The Barnes has one of the finest collections of post-impressionist and early modern paintings, with extensive holdings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, and Giorgio de Chirico; American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin, and Maurice Prendergast; old master paintings; African sculpture; Native American ceramics, jewelry and textiles; American paintings and decorative arts; and antiquities from the Mediterranean and Asia.
The Barnes Foundation's Art and Aesthetics programs engage diverse audiences. These programs, on-site, online, and in Philadelphia communities, advance the mission through progressive interdisciplinary teaching and learning.
In May 2012, the Barnes Foundation opened a new facility on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. The Philadelphia campus is home to the Foundation’s world-famous art collection and changing exhibitions in its 5,000-square-foot Roberts Gallery.
The Barnes Arboretum in Merion contains more than 2,000 varieties of trees and woody plants, including 31 state champion trees. Founded in the 1880s by Joseph Lapsley Wilson and expanded under the direction of Laura Barnes, the collection includes a fern-leaf beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Laciniata'), a dove tree (Davidia involucrata), a monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana), and a redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Other important living collections include lilacs, peonies, Stewartias, and magnolias. Inaugurated in 1940 by Mrs. Barnes, the Arboretum School offers a comprehensive three-year certificate course in botanical science, horticultural practice, garden aesthetics, and design. The Foundation’s archives are also located at the Merion campus.
For more information
Jan Rothschild, Senior Vice President for Communications
Online Press Office: http://press.barnesfoundation.org