Raising the Barnes

A serene new home for a contested collection

Floto + Warner for TIME

All the galleries are designed to reproduce the appearance of the corresponding rooms of the old Barnes. In room 6, conservator Geza Mika touches up the frame around Renoir's The Source.

At the new home of the Barnes Foundation, which houses the dazzling art collection of Albert C. Barnes, visitors enter via a pathway that crosses a reflecting pond. Given the history of the place, it feels like a bridge over troubled water. For much of his life, the spectacularly cranky Barnes — a chemist who made his fortune with a drug to treat gonorrhea — was at war with the social elites of Philadelphia. Many of them at first had no taste for the Cézannes, Matisses, van Goghs and Picassos at his private museum, a limestone villa located in the suburb...

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