The All-New Barnes Foundation

The All-New Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation Philadelphia, Art, Gallery, Museum, VisitThis spring saw the opening of the much-anticipated Barnes Foundation campus right here in Philly. Within intimate rooms reminiscent of the original Merion galleries, one of the world’s leading French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist collections is now available to the public like never before.

On May 19th 2012, the new 93,000-square-foot, two-storey building was debuted to the world. Impeccably designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, the building is described as a ‘gallery in a garden, a garden in a gallery’. With textured grey and gold Ramon limestone forming its exterior plus an elegant glass canopy that glows at night, the impressive building is a welcome addition to the Parkway Museum District.

Four-and-a-half acre landscaped grounds surround the breathtaking gallery, no doubt in reference to the Barnes Arboretum in Merion (which will reopen in late summer). But this stunning outdoor space is not the only ‘green’ feature, with a special living roof and permeable surfaces allowing for grey water re-use the building is very environmentally friendly.

But you can forget the façade; the biggest draw to this gallery is of course what lies inside, the Barnes Collection. Boasting 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes and 59 Matisses, plus works from Manet, Degas, Seurat, Prendergrast, Titian and Picasso, Barnes is rightly world renowned.

Preserving the configuration, proportion and scale of the original Merion building, the 12,000-square-foot space symmetrically arranges the works according to size, often teaming them with eclectic artefacts and furniture. This display wonderfully manifests the teachings of the man who collected the priceless works, Albert C. Barnes.

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