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Outside the Barnes Foundation
The Holiday Inn was conveniently located and had a nice breakfast for us before we headed out to the Barnes Foundation.
We could be among the last people who will see the Barnes Foundation's, $28,000,000,000.00- yes, that is 28 BILLION dollars- of art in it's intended setting, an exquisite mansion surrounded by one of the world's finest gardens, donated by an eccentric doctor who believed that art should be for all, especially "those who toil with their hands". The only people Dr. Barnes excluded were the "snobs" which included the "prostitutes" at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the cultural elistists - The Rich.

And to that end, Dr. Barnes set up a foundation to house the art out of Philadelphia and away from the city.

Dr. Barnes would haggle with Auguste Renoir's agent while visiting Leo and Gertrude Stein in Paris, he'd host Henri Matisse at his home in Merion while the artist painted murals for the gallery hall, but entrance was refused to cubist sculptor Jacques Lipshitz - despite his 7 sculpted frieze reliefs gracing the entry to the house.

Also turned away from this elegant door: T. S. Eliot, James Michener - three times, Michener finally got in by claiming to be a steel mill worker- Elton John was turned away at the door because he didn't have a reservation.

Accepted guests included: Thomas Mann and Albert Einstein (who dined together at the Foundation), Edward G. Robinson, Marian Anderson, Charles Laughton and Bruce Springsteen with his wife and children.
In October of 2002, our group was going IN

(note: Turning Elton John away and letting Bruce Springsteen in was a matter of timing, not taste. When Elton John arrived, the Foundation was run by a different Director who had a different agenda. The current Director, Kimberly Camp, would surely welcome Sir Elton with open arms. Even in the 8 months since we visited the Barnes, spectacular changes have taken place, thanks to Director Camp. NOW is the best time to visit the Barnes - before the rich guys take it apart, pack it up and move it to Center City :( , which yes, is exactly what they are suing in Orphan's Court to do.)


There are strict rules to obey at the Barnes, all meant to keep it accessible in line with Dr. Barnes higher goals.

NO: photography, sketching or drawing, jackets or coats, handbags, shoe heels < 2 inches in diameter. DON'T step over the line drawn on the floor in front of the paintings.

It's not much to ask after all, the entrance fee is only $5 to see a buffet of Modiglianis, Picassos, Cezannes, Van Goghs, Matisses, Gaugins, Manets, Monets, Seurats, Toulouse- Lautrecs, Henri Rousseaus, probably the largest single collection of Renoirs in the world- all arranged to instruct and enlighten by a man who literally wrote the book on "How to Judge a Painting".

1913 letter to Leo Stein, Barnes writes: "At New York [Armory Show] Academic art received a blow from which it will never entirely recover. I am convinced that I cannot get too many Renoirs"

Taking no chances on the future, we're gettin in while the gettin is good. The litgants were back in court as we arrived.





Z3s are joined by art loving friends in BMWs- and a hidden Ford minivan
We're parked on the battlefield which is the parking lot. Often videotaped for use in court, neighbors count the visitors. Admission to The Barnes Foundation is restricted to 1200 persons per week by local zoning ordinance. The restrictions on parking alone took an hour to explain to me on the phone.

"Robert Marmon, an intense, fast-talking management consultant who lives directly across Latch's Lane from the Barnes, has videotaped and photographed visitors. He claims Camp is violating rules that limit tour buses to 26 passengers. He says he has 70 photos of buses with more than 60 passengers."

The sour faces and attitude of the staff only briefly broke into smiles when one guard checked out Pete's Mini.

Surrounded by fragrant plants and glorious trees in the equally sublime botanical gardens while we were wandering around the gallery of one of the most advanced and grand houses of it's time.

HOH
Table Of
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