Philadelphia, PA, November 19, 2015—Thom Collins, executive director and president of the Barnes Foundation, today announced the appointment of Dr. Martha Lucy as deputy director for education & public programs and curator, a newly created position, effective immediately.

In this role, Dr. Lucy will lead the Foundation’s effort to build an educational and public program that better engages 21st-century audiences. While continuing to offer courses based on founder Albert C. Barnes’s distinct formalist approach to art appreciation, the Foundation’s new initiative aims to deepen the public’s understanding of the collection and its historical context. Dr. Lucy will create new avenues for collection interpretation through a refreshed education program, additional interpretive tools and materials, and an invigorated roster of public programs that reach the widest possible audiences. The Foundation envisions itself as a forum for public learning and as an emerging center for new scholarship and research. Working closely with the curatorial and conservation departments, she will develop focused research projects and academic programs that significantly expand opportunities for scholars and students. 

“Martha is a leader in both the educational and curatorial spheres,” said Thom Collins, executive director and president of the Barnes Foundation. “The Barnes Foundation is in a prime position to accelerate towards leadership and innovation in museum education, now more than ever with the valuable addition of Martha’s expertise.”

An accomplished art historian and curator, Dr. Lucy was previously assistant professor of art history at Drexel University in Philadelphia and, before that, associate curator at the Barnes Foundation. Most recently, she curated the contemporary exhibition Mark Dion, Judy Pfaff, Fred Wilson: The Order of Things, which was on view at the Barnes from May 16 through August 3, 2015. Dr. Lucy’s research centers on the art and visual culture of late 19th- and early 20th-century France. She has a wide range of scholarly interests, from evolutionary themes in the work of Odilon Redon to Renoir’s engagement with the sense of touch. Her current research focuses on scenes of the mirror and toilette in impressionist painting. 

Dr. Lucy is the co-author of Renoir in the Barnes Foundation (Yale University Press, 2012), the first scholarly book about the Barnes Foundation’s vast Renoir collection, and of The Barnes Foundation: Masterworks (Rizzoli). Her articles and essays have appeared in the Oxford Art Journal, the Revue d’Art Canadienne, and Burlington Magazine, as well as in several edited books and exhibition catalogues. 

“As an educator, curator, and art historian, my passion is connecting people with art and talking about it in a way that is accessible and relevant,” says Dr. Lucy. “There is enormous opportunity for deep investigation into this incredible collection and I look forward to working with my colleagues at the Barnes to bring it to life in completely new ways.”

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 holds one of the world’s finest collections of impressionist, post-impressionist and early modern paintings, with extensive works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, and Giorgio de Chirico; works by American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin, and Maurice Prendergast; old master paintings; important examples of African sculpture; Native American ceramics, jewelry, and textiles; decorative arts and ironwork; and antiquities from the Mediterranean region and Asia. While most collections are grouped by chronology, style, or genre, art at the Barnes is arranged in ensembles structured according to light, line, color, and space—principles that Dr. Barnes called “the universal language of art.” The Foundation’s programs include First Fridays, young professionals nights, tours, tastings, and family programs, as well as Barnes-de Mazia Education Program courses and workshops. These programs advance the Foundation’s mission through progressive, experimental, and interdisciplinary teaching and learning. The Barnes Foundation is open Wednesday–Monday and tickets can be purchased on site, online, or by calling 215.278.7200. Ticket prices and current hours are listed on our website.

The Barnes Arboretum in Merion contains more than 2,500 varieties of trees and woody plants, many of them rare. Founded in the 1880s by Joseph Lapsley Wilson and expanded under the direction of Laura Leggett Barnes, the living collections include 40 state champion trees, a Chinese fringe tree (Chionanthus retusus), a dove tree (Davidia involucrata), a monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana), and a coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Other important plant collections include lilacs, peonies, stewartias, ferns, medicinal plants, hostas, and magnolias. The Horticulture Education program has offered a comprehensive three-year certificate course in the botanical sciences, horticulture, garden aesthetics, and design since its establishment in 1940 by Mrs. Barnes. The arboretum also offers horticulture workshops and lectures, and is open to the public Friday–Sunday from May through November.  Tickets can be purchased on site, online, or by calling 215.278.7200. Ticket prices and current hours are listed on our website.


Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications
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