On our recent road trip, we stopped in Philadelphia to visit what The Economist calls “The greatest private collection of post-impressionist and early modern art in America.” Amassed by Dr. Albert C. Barnes who made his fortune by developing an antiseptic that prevents blindness in newborns, the collection had long been on our “bucket list.”
The facts: 181 works by Renoir, 69 by Cezanne, 59 by Matisse, 7 by van Gogh, 46 by Picasso, 18 by Rousseau, and dozens more by El Greco, Veronese, Tintoretto, Dürer, Rubens and others. The collection also includes 125 African sculptures, masks, and tools. It is estimated to be worth more than twenty-five billion dollars.
That all of this art is crammed into twenty-four rooms is only out-amazinged by the fact that it once hung in one person’s home, arranged exactly as it is now, displaying art of different periods and places together.
My normal museum-attending capacity: two hours. Our stay at The Barnes Foundation: five hours