The Barnes Foundation
One of the world’s foremost collections of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings
The 93,000-square-foot, two-story building, designed by architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, is described as a “gallery in a garden, a garden in a gallery.” With a textured grey-and-gold Ramon limestone exterior and a glass canopy that glows at night, the breathtaking building serves as one of the key anchors of the Parkway Museum District.
Set on four-and-a-half acres of landscaped grounds, the museum boasts sustainable features including a green roof and permeable surfaces that allow for rain and grey water re-use.
But the true draw is the Barnes’ permanent collection, featuring 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes and 59 Matisses, along with works by Manet, Degas, Seurat, Prendergrast, Titian and Picasso — one of the world’s largest collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings and African sculpture.
The 12,000-square-foot gallery space devoted to the collection preserves the scale, proportion and configuration of the Barnes’ original Merion location. The priceless works are carefully, and often symmetrically, arranged according to size and paired with artifacts and furniture (think: African sculpture, Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, antique Chinese paintings) organized around aesthetic themes and formal elements. The scheme is the physical manifestation of the teachings of the man who collected the works, Dr. Albert C. Barnes.
Unwind at the Barnes every first Friday of the month from 6 to 9 p.m. Relax with cocktails, live music, inspiring talks and after-hours access to the world-famous collection and special exhibitions. For a complete listing of upcoming events and to purchase tickets, click the button below.
Free First Sundays
On the first Sunday of every month, visitors to the Barnes can enjoy free admission from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. From 1 to 4 p.m. each Free First Sunday, the Barnes hosts family entertainment, informative talks, performances and hands-on activities. Tickets include access to the permanent collection galleries, exhibitions and any programs taking place that day.
Tickets are limited and cannot be reserved in advance; they are available on-site starting at 9 a.m. (for admission at 10 a.m. or later) on a first-come, first served basis. The offer is limited to tickets for two adults and two children. Free First Sundays are presented by PECO.
The Barnes Foundation was created in 1922, a school originating with Dr. Albert Barnes’ educational experimentation in his Argyrol (pharmaceutical) factory. Barnes and the Foundation’s first director of education, John Dewey, were interested in fostering cognitive development through new approaches to education, and in heightening critical-thinking and problem-solving skills through the study of art. Barnes, like Dewey, was actively engaged in the development of an intellectual framework and educational philosophies and practices with many of the best artists and thinkers of his day.
In 2004, a court ruling granted permission for the Barnes Foundation’s gallery art collection to move to a new building on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City Philadelphia.
In the neighborhood
1776 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19103
- The Inn at Penn, A Hilton Hotel
- The Windsor Suites Philadelphia
- The Logan, Philadelphia’s Hotel
- Sofitel Philadelphia
- The Westin Philadelphia
- Sonesta Philadelphia
- Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel
- Sheraton Philadelphia University City Hotel
- Rittenhouse 1715, A Boutique Hotel
- View more hotels
Museums & Attractions
22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19130
- The Rocky Statue and the Rocky Steps
- Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building
- The Spirit of Enterprise
- Joan of Arc
- Bastille Day Festival
at Eastern State Penitentiary
- Fairmount Art Center
- Social Consciousness
- Arts Garage
- Philadelphia CityPASS
- View more attractions
Restaurants & Dining
19th & Callowhill Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19130
- Urban Farmer Philadelphia
- King of Tandoor
- The Comcast Experience HD Video Wall – Comcast Center
- Campus Philly CollegeFest
- Sabrina’s Café & Spencer’s Too
- Capriccio at Cafe Cret
- McCrossen’s Tavern
- Kelliann’s Bar & Grill
- View more Restuarants & Dining