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The Barnes Foundation

One of the world’s leading collections of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings

Barnes Foundation

The Barnes Foundation on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in downtown Philadelphia. Credit: Photo © Tom Crane courtesy the Barnes Foundation


The Experience

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.” Boasting a textured grey-and-gold Ramon limestone exterior and a glass canopy that glows at night, the building is a breathtaking addition to the Parkway Museum District.

Set on four-and-a-half acres of landscaped grounds, the building boasts a number of 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 Collection featuring 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes and 59 Matisses, along with works by Manet, Degas, Seurat, Prendergrast, Titian and Picasso.

The 12,000-square-foot gallery preserves the scale, proportion and configuration of the Barnes’ original Merion location. The priceless works are symmetrically arranged according to size, and often paired with artifacts and furniture (think: African sculpture, Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, antique Chinese paintings) organized around themes and formal elements. The scheme is the physical manifestation of the teachings of the man who collected the works, Dr. Albert C. Barnes.

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Strength and Splendor: Wrought Iron from the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen and Ellen Harvey: Metal Painting

Dates: September 19, 2015 – January 4, 2016

The Barnes Foundation shines a light on metalwork with two concurrent exhibitions open through early next year.

Accenting the 887 wrought iron pieces in the Barnes collection and drawn from the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, a places Barnes likely visited during his lifetime, the Strength and Splendor: Wrought Iron from the Musée Le Secq des Tournelles, Rouen exhibit ranges from jewelry, door knockers, locks and keys, tools, strongboxes and escutcheons.

This exhibit will mark the first time the French museum’s iron objects journey to the United States, and includes more than 150 pieces. Dating from the Middle Ages to early 20th century, the works incorporated consider iron as a versatile medium, where innovation and artistry intersect.

The more than 887 oil paintings of varying sizes that comprise Ellen Harvey: Metal Painting will make up the site-specific, large-scale collage set on a steel wall.

The Barnes’ fourth visual arts commission of the year brings Harvey’s magnetized panels to the museum’s walls, forming metallic silhouettes which bring attention to each work’s shape and form.

More on the exhibitions

First Friday!

Unwind at the Barnes every first Friday of the month from 6–9 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.

Upcoming Events

Free First Sundays

On the first Sunday of every month, visitors to the Barnes can enjoy free admission, family entertainment and informative seminars from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Free tickets are can be obtained on-site starting at 9 a.m. for 10 a.m. and later. Advance reservations are not available and tickets are available on a first come-first served basis. The offer is limited to tickets for two adults and two children.

The Barnes Foundation Hotel Package

Complete your visit to The Barnes Foundation with a stay in one of Philadelphia’s incredible hotels. The Barnes Foundation Hotel Package includes untimed tickets to The Barnes Foundation, audio guides, discounts and more. To discover participating hotels, additional offers and book your stay, click the button below.

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The Barnes Foundation was created in 1922, a school originating with 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 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.

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