Film details debate over Barnes Foundation

    A documentary film about the late Albert Barnes and his valuable art collection will have its U.S. premiere Tuesday at the New York Film Festival.

    The debate over moving the Barnes art collection from Lower Merion to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway has raged for years. Now it has been distilled into 100 minutes. A documentary film about the late Albert Barnes and his valuable art collection will have its U.S. premiere Tuesday at the New York Film Festival. Many Philadelphians are making the trip to the Big Apple.

    Listen:
    [audio: 090928pcbarnes.mp3]

    The film is called The Art of the Steal, which hints at how the fillmmakers feel about the move. It tells the story of how Albert Barnes amassed his world-renowned collection of Mattisse, Cezanne, and Renoir, and how a coalition of foundations and politicians fought to move it to Center City.

    Blake Bradford works for the Barnes Foundation he is the Education Director. He saw the film recently at the Toronto Film Festival and says it leaves the audience asking more questions.

    Bradford: What I saw in the post-film screening was that they wanted to know more about the Barnes Foundation. The first thing they are doing is going to our website and finding out, for example, that we’re still open. A lot of what will happen is positive for us.

    The group opposed to the move – The Friends of the Barnes – say the film could be used as a publicity tool to block the relocation.

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