A Visit to the New Barnes

Henri Matisse, Le Bonheur de vivre, 1905-1906, oil on canvas, 69 1/2 x 94 3/4 in
Henri Matisse, Le Bonheur de vivre, 1905-1906, oil on canvas, 69 1/2 x 94 3/4 inches (©2011 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Image © 2012 The Barnes Foundation)

Charles Kessler visits and reviews the new Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

Kessler writes: "There are many good reasons why breaking the Barnes trust was a bad idea... And while a case can be made that this type of installation is a cultural artifact worth preserving, there are other ways, short of wholesale preservation, to document it. The bottom line is I LOVED the new Barnes... all of [the] criticisms come to nothing when confronted with the art - it will make you weep with joy! They have 69 Cézannes—more than in all the museums in Paris... And they have Matisse's Joy of Life which, along with Picasso's Demoiselles D’Avignon, is one of the landmarks of twentieth-century art. And now Joy of Life is in its own alcove instead of hanging in a stairway as in the old Barnes... And it absolutely glows. "