The Barnes Foundation to open new campus with free admission

The Barnes Foundation announced that its new campus in Philadelphia will open with ten days of free admission beginning on May 19 and continuing through May 28. The building will be dedicated on Friday, May 18, 2012, at 11 am. The inaugural week culminates with a Memorial Day festival weekend, offering round-the-clock free admission to the renowned collection and entire campus. The weekend features a variety of entertainment and programs from noon on May 26 through 6 pm on May 28. Tickets are required for all opening events and are available online or by calling 1.866.849.7056.

The Barnes Foundation’s 93,000-square-foot building designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, conceived as a “gallery within a garden and a garden within a gallery,” is set within a four-and-a-half-acre site with landscape design by Olin. The building will provide significant new facilities for the Foundation’s core programs in art education, as well as for temporary exhibitions and visitor amenities. At the same time, the legendary Barnes art collection will be presented within a 12,000-square-foot gallery that preserves the scale, proportion and configuration of the original Merion gallery, as well as the founder’s conception of a visual interplay between art and nature.

While the new campus on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway enables the Foundation to relax previous restrictions on public visitation, admissions will be scheduled so as to maintain an intimate and contemplative atmosphere. The natural light in the gallery, controlled through contemporary technology, will reveal the true beauty of the Barnes Foundation’s unparalleled collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings, African sculpture, Pennsylvania Dutch decorative arts and other important works.

The seminal painting Joy of Life by Henri Matisse will now be placed in an intimate gallery on the second floor. This new placement allows for safe and improved viewing of the painting and maintains the visual relationship between this work and the Matisse mural The Dance, which was commissioned by Dr. Barnes.

In keeping with the Foundation’s historic environmental mission, which includes its programs in horticultural education and its stewardship of the Arboretum in Merion, the Philadelphia building of the Barnes Foundation features a sustainable design, and utilizes filtered natural daylight, a green roof, grey water re-use, reclaimed Pennsylvania and New Jersey wood and other local materials. The Foundation is seeking LEED platinum certification for the building, the highest level possible.

In addition to free public admission hours from May 19 through May 28, a building dedication on May 18 will initiate a week of festivities which will include the Foundation’s sold-out black-tie Opening Gala on the evening of the dedication; a symposium on collectors and collections during the day on May 19; a celebratory party on the evening of May 19; and a series of special previews for supporters, members, civic groups and others May 20 through 25.

“Now, after a long and determined effort to secure the future of the Barnes Foundation, we look forward to welcoming the public to our accessible new campus in Philadelphia,” said Dr. Bernard C. Watson, Chairman of the Barnes Foundation Board of Trustees. “The time has come for people to see what we offer, and take advantage of this wonderful institution and its collection and educational programming, which Dr. Barnes intended for all people from all walks of life.”

Derek Gillman, Executive Director and President of the Barnes, stated, “The Barnes Foundation is rightly celebrated as steward of one of the great achievements of world collecting. We hope the presentation of our collection at the new campus, faithful to the way in which Dr. Barnes displayed it in Merion and, at the same time, shown in a new light, will open the eyes of many more people to these wonderful works of art, and encourage them to engage with the unique educational opportunities now offered in central Philadelphia.”

The Foundation’s Philadelphia campus has been realized at a total cost of $150 million for construction and related expenses. The Barnes Foundation has successfully raised $200 million to pay for construction with $50 million to establish an endowment, in a campaign that will continue after the opening.

“We are deeply grateful for the overwhelming support we have received from the entire community for this project, which will enable the Barnes Foundation to go forward as an independent, robust and dynamic organization for the future,” said Joe Neubauer, Vice Chairman of the Barnes Foundation Board of Trustees. “In addition to the many foundations and corporations that share our vision for an expanded and vibrant Barnes, more than fifteen thousand individuals have joined to support us as members. The Barnes is an incomparable artistic and educational resource, and we are overjoyed to be able to make it more accessible to people in Philadelphia and from all over the world.”

The premier sponsors for the opening year of the Philadelphia campus are PNC and Comcast. Both companies support the core principles of the Barnes Foundation in the areas of public access, education and community engagement.

he Barnes Foundation ( was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” The Barnes holds one of the finest collections of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings, with extensive holdings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine and Giorgio de Chirico, as well as American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin and Maurice Prendergast, Old Master paintings, important examples of African sculpture and Native American ceramics, jewelry and textiles, American paintings and decorative arts and antiquities from the Mediterranean region and Asia. The Barnes Foundation’s Art and Aesthetics programs engage a diverse array of audiences. These programs, occurring at the Philadelphia campus, online, and in Philadelphia communities, advance the mission through progressive, experimental, and interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

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