Skip to content Skip to footer

Decoding Barnes’s Ensembles

On-Site / The Barnes Method

Wednesday, August 3, 10am – 4pm


$170; members $153
(one-day workshop)

About the Class

In arranging his collection into groupings called “ensembles,” Albert Barnes disrupted traditional historical and geographic boundaries to focus on the commonalities between fine art and everyday objects. In the ensembles, paintings, metalwork, furniture, ceramics, and textiles are placed side by side in unexpected and surprising ways. Dr. Barnes designed these groupings as teaching tools—and they are still as enigmatic and enlightening to us now as they were in the early 20th century.

Capacity: 18

Note: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to attend this class; please check Safety Guidelines regarding current mask policies.


William Perthes

Perthes is the Bernard C. Watson Director of Adult Education at the Barnes. He has taught courses at the Barnes as well as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and West Chester and Villanova Universities. His scholarship focuses on American modernism and the abstract expressionist painter Robert Motherwell.

The Barnes Method

Barnes Method courses follow the teachings of Albert Barnes and Violette de Mazia. Classes focus on rigorous formal analysis and direct visual engagement with works of art. In this method, close looking at art helps build critical-thinking skills that can be carried beyond the gallery walls.