Monday, October 14, 2013
In an interesting piece in the Los Angeles Times, art critic Christopher Knight writes that new information may shed additional light on the infamous relocation of the Barnes Foundation from suburban Merion to downtown Philadelphia. A new paperback edition of John Anderson's "Art Held Hostage: The Battle Over the Barnes Collection" – a comprehensive account of the struggle over the foundation – contains an epilogue that, according to Knight, shows that relocation may not have been necessary. Knight reads the epilogue to suggest that both a local politician (who was convicted in 2009 on 137 counts of political corruption) and local charitable foundations (including Pew Charitable Trusts) angled for the relocation notwithstanding that the California-based J. Paul Getty Trust was apparently interested in helping the Barnes Foundation continue to operate at its historic site. According to the article, “Anderson reports that Pew warned the Getty away from considering a full-scale rescue plan, ‘lest they be denounced as interlopers from afar.’" The story further indicates that the funding ultimately raised to relocate the Barnes collection greatly exceeded the funding that would have been sufficient to maintain operations in Merion.
Those who teach the Barnes Foundation case may want to pick up a copy of the new paperback edition of Anderson’s book just to review this epilogue.