PAFA and Dr. Barnes

April 7 - July 8, 2012

Gallery 12, Historic Landmark Building

In celebration of the debut of the Barnes Foundation in its new home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, PAFA welcomes its new neighbor by exploring the connections between the Pennsylvania Academy and Dr. Albert Barnes. This exhibition will feature works from the permanent collection that relate to Barnes’s tastes and philosophy, as well as works by his friends (such as William J. Glackens), and items from the PAFA Archives.

It was at PAFA in April 1923 that Barnes first revealed the richness of his modern European art collection to the American public. Among the factors that led Barnes to allow 75 paintings and sculptures from his collection to be shown at PAFA was the presence of progressive faculty members such as Arthur B. Carles. Barnes had written to Carles in 1921 after viewing an avant-garde PAFA exhibition showing “Later Tendencies in Art” congratulating “the liberal spirit of the officials of the Academy in opening their doors to what is the most real and vital movement to many, many people interested in art…your present show is the first real move to shake Philadelphia out of the lethargy which has been the reproach to us from artists and collectors of other cities…It’s a mighty fine thing for Philadelphia to have genuine artists of ability have the opportunity to express themselves freely and without dictation from self-constituted authorities or conventional dogma and have those expressions viewed by the public for what they are worth. It is a positive step towards education and enlightenment in the proper meanings of those words.”

Two years later, he would revise his opinion about Philadelphia, rather than PAFA, in the wake of criticism of his collection. This installation will include material related to the 1923 exhibition and present works that show links between PAFA and Barnes.

Curator: Robert Cozzolino, Curator of Modern Art

PAFA's special exhibitions in 2011-12 are supported by generous contributions from Max N. Berry, Esq, Donald R. Caldwell, Jonathan L. Cohen, and Lori Levine Ordover and Janusz Ordover.

The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ public programs are funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency).

Edward Sozanski for The Inquirer.

General operating support provided, in part, by