Saturday, May 05, 2012

Paul Goldberger on the New Barnes Building

"This building won’t please the absolutists, the people we should probably call Barnes fundamentalists, because nothing would please them short of a return to the way things were. But it really ought to please everybody else, because—to cut to the chase—the new Barnes is absolutely wonderful."

It will be fun to watch the Fundamentalists identify themselves.

Back to Goldberger:

"[W]alking through the galleries, I realized that there is another way altogether to see this situation, which is from the standpoint of the collection itself. There is no question that the paintings are more visible in their new home; they look better in every way, and they are likely to be far better cared for in a modern, humidity- and temperature-controlled environment. You may or may not believe that visitors fare better in the new Barnes. But you cannot dispute the fact that the Cezannes and Renoirs and Matisses do. And no one can fail to understand, going through these new galleries, that this is anything but a distinctive, idiosyncratic, and highly personal collection. That is what Albert Barnes wanted it always to be, and what it still is: a place where you not only see incomparably great art but feel the instincts and the personality of a single collector. Barnes’s will may have been changed, but his presence surely remains."