Don’t be fooled by the sleek modern exterior of this building. Housed inside is one of the world’s largest collections of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Early Modern paintings. The Barnes collection includes more paintings by Renoir than anywhere else in the world, and more works by Cézanne than in all the museums of Paris. Then add several paintings by Van Gogh, Degas, Matisse and Picasso, and it becomes clear that this is an extraordinary museum. Previously displayed in the suburban home of Dr. Albert Barnes, his collection was originally open to the public two days a week, but primarily used for study by those enrolled in his art education programs. The collection was relocated to downtown Philadelphia one year ago, after a long legal battle and amid much controversy. Just blocks from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation is now centrally located and accessible.
Visitors should allow at least 2-3 hours to fully view the collection. Advance reservations are highly recommended and can be purchased online, where helpful visitor guidelines are also posted. Pictured above is the building’s entrance with Ellsworth Kelly’s sculpture, The Barnes Totem, in the forefront. Also pictured are items for sale in the gift shop (photography is not permitted in the galleries). On the first Sunday of every month, free admission is offered from 1pm-6pm, but advance reservations are not available for free Sundays. Check the Foundation’s website for details.