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“We Finally Got to the Barnes”

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.
St. Michaels, Maryland
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“We Finally Got to the Barnes”
Reviewed December 11, 2013

I lived three miles from the original Barnes Foundation gallery for most of my adult life and never visited. As a journalist, I reported and edited countless stories about the controversies surrounding the Barnes. We moved to the Chesapeake several years ago and watched the building of the new gallery on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from afar. We reserved tickets for a visit in 2012, but that was the weekend Super Storm Sandy was on her way so we canceled and headed home. This year, we finally made it and we are so glad we did. I am still on Art Overload. The shear numbers are overwhelming. To start, there are 181 Renoirs in the collection. Works by Matisse, Cezanne, VanGogh, Gauguin, Modigliani and Picasso are everywhere. We spent almost three hours in the gallery and just scratched the surface. We need to make the Barnes a regular stop on our visits to Philadelphia.

Visited December 2013
Thank Tusitalatale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Dover, New Jersey
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“must see.”
Reviewed December 11, 2013

wonderful docents never rushed. Take the tour your will enjoy the museum in all its fine and beautiful works of precious art thank you Dr. Barnes thank you

Visited December 2013
Thank gabysgrandad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
95 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Good art poorly displayed”
Reviewed December 10, 2013

There's a lot of great art on view, but Mr. Barnes, the original collector, had very eccentric views about how to display art and the display distracted from some of the pieces. We had a docent led tour -- and it was clear she drank the KoolAid, because she kept telling us how cool the display concepts were, etc. I just don't agree. One example: there are very cool Picasso drawings, very small ones, hung in the corner of one of the rooms. There is also a black line you cannot cross. Hence, it's pretty much impossible to get a decent look at these drawings. Also, several paintings are hung very high, or above doorways, making it very difficult to view them properly. A lovely Harlequin Picasso is jammed onto a wall with 5000 other paintings when it really deserves a wall to its own. Sigh. Nevertheless, this collection is worth a visit even if you aren't as partial to Renoir as Barnes was.

Visited October 2013
Thank katdarcy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
360 reviews
49 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 270 helpful votes
“a world class collection of paintings by Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and Renoir”
Reviewed December 9, 2013

The Barnes Foundation Museum is certainly impressive and in addition to the paintings Albert Barnes acquired are various physical artefacts; it is in the layout he defined so the artworks are unusually close together. The museum guide describes the paintings as post-impressionist or early modern, mainly by Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso and Renoir. There are a few old masters but most paintings are in my view impressionist; it’s an impressive collection, professionally presented in a modern building. Having paid the entrance fee an iPod audio guide is free and very helpful.

Visited December 2013
Thank SeriousTraveller01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hoboken, New Jersey, United States
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Cool art. Just be ready to wait in line.”
Reviewed December 9, 2013

This place is an amazing collection of art. You buy a ticket ahead of time to queue up and then walk around the 20 rooms of art. There are scupltures, paintings, and other pieces from many different centuries and locations. Just be ready to wait in line for about 30 min regardless of if you have a reservation. The place just gets crowded. Also they give u an ipod to listen to artsy drivel about the paintings if you are into that.

Visited December 2013
Thank Nicholas M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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