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Displaying items by tag: Albert C. Barnes

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 11:14

The Barnes Foundation Appoints a New Chief Curator

The Barnes Foundation — which is still feeling out its new identity in downtown Philadelphia after relocating in 2012 from its original home in the suburb of Merion, Pa. — announced Thursday that it had chosen Sylvie Patry, a longtime curator at the Musée D’Orsay in Paris, to be its new chief curator and deputy director for collections and exhibitions.

Ms. Patry, 46, is a specialist in Impressionist and Post-Impressionism, which is the strength of the Barnes’s collection, built by Albert C. Barnes, a willful and eccentric pharmaceutical tycoon, and opened in 1922.

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Ending an often testy and sometimes distant 25-year coexistence, the Barnes Foundation will merge with the foundation established by the estate of Violette de Mazia, Albert C. Barnes' longtime colleague.

The Violette de Mazia Foundation - whose sole purpose has been to promulgate and support art education based on the formalist pedagogical principles of Barnes, de Mazia, and the philosopher John Dewey - will form the core of the Barnes-de Mazia Education Program, to be based at the Barnes Foundation on the Parkway.

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In a highly unusual outcome to conservation efforts, the Barnes Foundation has discovered it owns two previously unknown Cézanne sketches - even collector Albert C. Barnes was most likely unaware of their existence.

The two works, unmentioned in any correspondence and not included in the master compendium of Cézanne's works, are on the backs of two watercolors that are permanently hung in the foundation's galleries on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The works had been taken down a year ago for needed conservation.

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Thursday, 19 May 2011 03:53

Can sex save the Barnes?

If the company that is recreating the “miracle” medicine that earned a fortune for Albert C. Barnes have their way, the cantankerous chemist’s art collection might stay in its suburban home in Merion rather than move to a new home being built nearby in central Philadelphia.

Argyrol Pharmaceuticals promises that an injection of cash from its future revenues—10% of profits—could be a cure for the Barnes Foundation’s financial difficulties, which first prompted the relocation.

Argyrol, an antiseptic, “can treat sexually transmitted diseases”, according to Christine McKinney, who owns the trademark to Argyrol’s essential molecule. In a startling claim, the company marketing the drug says that it attacks genital herpes and HIV, besides treating eye infections and acne, foreseeing a potential global market. Trademarked in 1902, Argyrol was widely used to treat infections, particularly gonorrhoea, in the last century.

In 1925 Barnes built the Paul Cret-designed Merion gallery to house his collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings and artefacts. Barnes sold the Argyrol trademark to the pharmaceutical firm Zonite in 1929, using the profits to bankroll his acquisitions.

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