Thursday, December 27, 2012

thursday thoughts: the barnes foundation

Matisse, Still Life With Lemon

Last weekend, we had a little family getaway and visited the Barnes Foundation. A.C. Barnes was a self-made gajillionaire with fantastic, eclectic taste in art—and total OCD about how it was displayed in his museum. Picture rooms filled with varying media and periods, three or four works high. His point (a good one) was that all art is cross-referential, its themes universal.

The collection recently moved to a sleek, beautiful building in downtown Philadelphia—and it is totally worth a visit if you're anywhere nearby—even with kids, even though the mood is hushed and reverential even by art-museum standards, even though the guards in here are hard-core about staying a good distance from the artwork. (In addition to what's in the galleries, family events—paper making, art-themed story time—occur almost weekly.) The artwork itself is a crazy hodgepodge, lots of great artists' second- or third-level works mixed in with absolutely gorgeous pieces. It's worth a visit for the Matisses alone. 

Matisse, Interior, Nice
Henri Rousseau, Woman Walking in an Exotic Forest
Toulouse-Lautrec, A Montrouge
Modigliani, Cypresses and Houses at Cagnes

Full disclosure: My kids weren't all that into it.  I tried giving them challenges like "find something tiny and red" or "find all the animals in the room" (and I may have asked them to count the boobs in one gallery when they got really antsy).

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