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“Amazing Art”

The Barnes Foundation
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Day Trip from New Haven CT to Philadelphia by Rail
Ranked #2 of 450 things to do in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Barnes Foundation houses one of the finest collections of nineteenth- and twentieth-century French painting in the world. An extraordinary number of masterpieces by Renoir, Cezanne and Matisse provide a depth of work by these artists that is unavailable elsewhere. Established as an educational institution, the Barnes carries out its mission teaching classes in its galleries and Arboretum.
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Amazing Art”
Reviewed November 23, 2013

Not as a good as the original museum but they took great care to recreate it. Much of the art is by the greatest artist but enjoy the less known artist pieces.

Visited September 2013
Thank Bren36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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northeastern US
Level 4 Contributor
47 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Ridiculous rules”
Reviewed November 22, 2013

I have been to the Barnes in Merion and went to the new location on Ben Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia with a friend. This is a fairly large collection of mostly Impressionist paintings, along with some old masters, furniture and metalwork. It is housed in a very impressive building after being relocated from its original home in Merion. There is a long contentious history concerning that move. In any event, this is not a place that is especially welcoming or helpful. The guards and some of the employees are not friendly or polite even if you are obeying their rules. One would expect some of the rules, for example, no photography and no getting close to the artwork. My friend was told she could not sketch anything in the galleries. She thought the guard was joking! "Those are the rules here,"she was told. She inquired of a docent why she wasn't allowed to make this small, quick sketch, and was given the most ridiculous, illogical, non-reasons, including that the pencil might hit the artwork (from three feet away?), that it wasn't a museum, it was a learning institution (didn't we just pay $22 to come and view artwork and don't you learn about art by drawing it?) that children with teachers could draw(aren't they more worried about the kids' pencils flying across the room than adults'?), and that this was Dr. Barnes' expressed wish (utterly untrue, and it was his wish that the collection remain in Merion, where it is not). This definitely put a pall on the visit. While there are some very interesting pieces by some of my favorite painters, I felt less than happy with this visit. Only go here if you have a very strong desire to see the works and are willing to be in an environment more over-controlled than any other gallery we have ever visited anywhere on Earth. Also, partly in keeping with the original design in Merion, there is no information on the paintings or painters in print on the walls of the galleries, nor is there printed information in the galleries. You do get a free audiotour which will give you audio information on a very limited number of the pieces, and of course, that takes up much more of your time and gives much less information than would be available in a print guide. It seems to me that this would undercut the docent's claim that this is not a museum, it is an institution of learning, since it's not easy to learn anything in the galleries themselves. I was wondering whether they would wipe out memories like the Men in Black since we might recall something and actually put pencil to paper to record it. Not really a good experience.

Visited November 2013
1 Thank traveledone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Island, New York
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Fabulous, funky museum”
Reviewed November 21, 2013

What a fabulous collection. 181 Renoirs, I walked into the first room, and was speechless. Definately an eccentric, the way Dr. Barnes displayed his collection is far different from anything you have ever seen. We will go back, for sure.

Visited November 2013
Thank Mariegee2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin, New Jersey
Level 5 Contributor
88 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Makes you glad they broke his will...”
Reviewed November 21, 2013

The legal battle between the Barnes Foundation and the City of Philadelphia effectively breaking Dr. Barnes' will makes a good read. The result was that the collection was brought to the Parkway. It is an awesome place to visit, very memorable. While I did not visit the collection at its former location, the new museum is intended to be faithful to Dr. Barnes' presentation of his artworks. You get an appreciation of the art but also for its unique arrangement, which Dr. Barnes was very interested in. A very deep and rich experience, almost too much to take in during a single visit, which is why I plan to return in the near future. I am not an art connoisseur, but I enjoyed this museum very much and believe you will too. Nice place for a romantic day out. I bought tickets by phone, the website has time brackets that apparently are not in force if you call. We parked around the corner across from the Granery apartments at 20th and Callowhill and paid $15 for four hours. Very convenient. Go and enjoy.

Visited November 2013
Thank 671paul_j671
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Must Go!!”
Reviewed November 21, 2013

A very unique collection and display and building. It is a must see and requires a few hours at least to do it justice. Better yet go for a couple of hours one day and go back the next.

Visited November 2013
Thank curryleaf95
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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