Philly Socialholic: The Barnes Foundation A Feast for the Eyes!

Posted by Maryanne Salvat On October - 17 - 2014
Edgar Degas, French, 1834–1917. Group of Dancers (Groupe de danseuses), c. 1900. Oil pastel on paper, 22 3/4 x 16 1/8 in. (57.8 x 41 cm). BF121. Photo: © 2012 The Barnes Foundation

Edgar Degas, French, 1834–1917. Group of Dancers (Groupe de danseuses), c. 1900. Oil pastel on paper, 22 3/4 x 16 1/8 in. (57.8 x 41 cm). BF121. Photo: © 2012 The Barnes Foundation

Courtesy of The Barnes Foundation:

Assembled by Dr. Albert C. Barnes between 1912 and 1951, the Barnes collection is renowned as one of the finest holdings of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings in the world. The collection also includes important examples of African sculpture, early twentieth-century American painting, Pennsylvania German decorative arts, Native American ceramics, old master paintings, as well as metalwork, jewelry, textiles, and antiquities.

Among its major holdings are: 181 works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (the largest single group of the artist’s paintings); 69 works by Paul Cézanne; important paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Georges Seurat; 59 works by Henri Matisse; 46 works by Pablo Picasso; 16 works by Amedeo Modigliani; 125 African sculptures, masks and tools.

Not To Be Missed: William Glackens
November 8, 2014–February 2, 2015

A Philadelphia native, Glackens (1870–1938) studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. There, and as an artist for the Philadelphia Press, he became friends with Robert Henri, George Luks, Everett Shinn, and John Sloan, the core of the group that later formed “The Eight” in reaction to the National Academy of Design’s hidebound exhibition policies. The group exhibited together only once, in 1908, creating the opening wedge in the struggle to democratize the process by which artists could show and sell their work.


William Glackens. The Little Pier, 1914. Oil on canvas, 25 x 40 in. (63.5 x 76.2 cm). The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia and Merion, PA, BF497

The exhibition at the Barnes Foundation reunites under one roof for the first time since 1908 six of the seven works that Glackens exhibited in The Eight’s show. One of the works, Race Track (1908–1909), is on view in the Barnes’s collection gallery (Room 12); the location of the seventh work is unknown. Furthermore, three works from the 1908 exhibition—At Mouquin’s (1905) from the Art Institute of Chicago, The Shoppers (1907-08) from the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Va., and In the Buen Retiro (1906), from the Ted Slavin Collection—are among a group of seven significant works not shown at the other venues of William Glackens. The remaining works are: Chateau Thierry and its study (1906), from the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, Calif.; Shop Girls (1900), from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Bathers at Bellport (1912), from the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC.


Glackens was a boyhood friend of Albert C. Barnes (1872–1951), the Philadelphia-born pharmaceutical entrepreneur, self-made millionaire, art collector, and creator of the Barnes Foundation. They knew each other from Philadelphia’s prestigious Central High School, and when they renewed their friendship in 1911, Glackens guided Barnes toward an appreciation of modern French painting. In early 1912, Barnes wrote to Glackens: “Dear Butts, I want to buy some good modern paintings. Can I see you on Tuesday next in New York to talk about it?” The following month, with $20,000 from Barnes in his pocket, the artist traveled to Paris on a buying trip and returned with 33 paintings, among them works by Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Maurice Denis, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. These purchases became the cornerstone of Barnes’s fabled collection. The two men remained close, and Barnes became his loyal and most important patron. Barnes found Glackens indispensable, stating in 1915, “The most valuable single educational factor to me has been my frequent association with a life-long friend who combines greatness as an artist with a big man’s mind.”

Curated by writer and art historian Avis Berman and co-organized by the Barnes Foundation, the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, NY, and the Nova Southeastern University Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  At the Barnes Foundation, the exhibition was coordinated by Judith F. Dolkart, the Mary Stripp & R. Crosby Kemper Director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, and former deputy director of art and archival collections and Gund Family Chief Curator at the Barnes.

For more information visit:




Leave a Reply