Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"The wilful Dr. Barnes has only himself to blame"

Witold Rybczynski in

"He had an excellent eye and a sharp mind, but unlike other private collectors who founded their own museums—Isabella Stewart Gardner, J. P. Morgan, Duncan Phillips—he was not a good institution builder. As a result, only 50 years after his death, the Barnes stood at the brink of insolvency. It was saved only by the intervention of the Philadelphia establishment ..., on the understanding that the collection, whose worth is estimated at more than $6 billion, would be moved to new premises in the city's museum district."

Philadelphia Inquirer culture reporter Stephan Salisbury told a similar story last week -- the Barnes was saved, not stolen.