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Discover the Barnes

Online / On-Site / The Barnes Method

Wednesday, December 14, 10am – 4pm


Ensemble view, Room 19, north wall, Philadelphia. © The Barnes Foundation

$170; members $136, with Member Appreciation Discount
(one-day workshop)

About the Class

On-site registration is sold out; join the wait list or register to attend online.

This one-day workshop is an introduction to the remarkable history and extraordinary collections of the Barnes Foundation. Learn about the major artworks in the galleries—from Van Gogh’s Postman to Matisse’s Dance mural to Fang sculpture from equatorial Africa—and why many of these works were so controversial when Albert Barnes purchased them nearly 100 years ago. Find out why Dr. Barnes rejected museum conventions and arranged his collection in such an unusual way, and how that arrangement connects to the Barnes’s progressive educational mission. Perfect for first-time students, and also for those who already know the Barnes and want to learn more!

Topics covered:

  • The Early Years: Albert Barnes, Early Collecting, European Modernism
  • What’s With the Quirky Installation? Education and Democracy on the Gallery Wall
  • The Role of African Art
  • A Global Approach: Modern Art and Traditions From Around the World

This class workshop takes place at the Barnes in the collection galleries but is also available for online enrollment. All students, whether on-site or remote, will have the opportunity to participate in class discussions. More about online classes.

On-site capacity: 12

Note: Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to attend this class; please check safety guidelines for current masking information.


Martha Lucy

Lucy is the deputy director for research, interpretation and education at the Barnes. As an art historian, she specializes in modern European art and visual culture. She is the coauthor of Renoir in the Barnes Foundation and has published articles and essays on topics ranging from the early charcoals of Odilon Redon to contemporary installation art.

Kaelin Jewell

Jewell is a senior instructor in adult education at the Barnes. She holds a PhD in late Roman and early medieval art history from Temple University and has worked as a field archeologist. In addition to her work at the Barnes, Jewell is the art historian for an underwater archaeology project near the Sicilian town of Marzamemi.

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.

Michael Williamson

A member of the Barnes faculty, Williamson studied at Yale University and the Milton Avery Graduate School of Bard College. He taught art history and studio art for nearly 30 years at Germantown Friends School in Philadelphia. Williamson has an active art practice and has shown his paintings locally.

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.