The Barnes Foundation – "The Art of the Steal"

 There is a powerful new documentary out there called The Art of the Steal ( It’s the story of one of the art world’s most wonderfully odd characters, Albert Barnes (d. 1951), his fantastic collection of Renoirs, Cezannes, Matisses et cetera, which came to rest in a suburb of Philadelphia decades ago, and of the planned move of that collection to downtown Philadelphia in 2012.

Albert Barnes in the Barnes Foundation ca 1950
Albert Barnes in the Barnes Foundation ca 1950

The documentary has a very strong point of view, obvious from its title, and as a viewer you are certain to react one way or the other. Last Sunday morning I introduced an advanced screening of The Art of the Steal at the Charles Theatre here in Baltimore, and moderated a very lively conversation after the screening.

I think it would be fair to say that 80+% of those present agreed with the thesis of the film.

It will be shown at the Charles later this month.  And all over the country.


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