The Barnes Collection is a nice addition to the home library of any art lover, student, collector, and critic. It presents the life and impact of Dr. Albert C. Barnes on the art world. The near hour long program presents a man who was anything but the stereotypical art critic or aficionado. Barnes spent most of his young life facing great adversity. He became a boxer out of necessity at a young age. That was because of the neighborhood in which he grew up. And through interviews with academics and professionals, audiences learn that Barnes even quit college and became a bookie for horse races. Yet through it all, he still became the man that everyone knows today.
As the program progresses, audiences get to see the construction of the Barnes Building in Philadelphia, and the painstaking work undertaken to move Barnes’ collection to the building so as to present it in its original arrangement. The BarnesBuilding, as audiences will learn, was built to house Barnes’ massive collection of paintings. His collection includes works from Picasso, Renoir, and Cézannes. It’s also revealed here that Barnes’ collection (which is comprised of more than three thousand paintings) includes more of Cézannes’ works than all of the museums in Paris. The collection also houses the world’s largest collection of Renoir works.
What is perhaps one of the most intriguing factors of “The Barnes Collection” is how Barnes intentionally organized his collection in a specific order. Individuals connected to the collection explain that it was done to best appreciate the different facets of art. Barnes cared so much about true art appreciation that he even had furniture (including wall hangings) arranged to coincide with the different paintings’ themes. It shows that he had a true appreciation for art. Considering this and his upbringing, audiences too, will have more appreciation not just for art, but for Barnes himself, too. They will see why he was and still is today one of the most important figures in the world of art. The Barnes Collection is available now on DVD. IT can be ordered direct via PBS’ website, http://www.shoppbs.org.
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