About the Museum
Dr. Albert C. Barnes amassed a treasure trove of impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modernist paintings, along with metalwork, Pennsylvania German furniture and decorative arts. He was also an early and influential collector of African sculpture. In 1922, Dr Barnes and his wife, Laura Leggett Barnes, purchased a 12-acre arboretum in Merion, Pennsylvania. He hired noted French architect Paul Cret to design a residence and gallery on the grounds. This would become the first home of the Barnes Foundation, an educational institution dedicated to promoting an appreciation of fine art and horticulture.
Today, the Barnes Foundation continues to honor and build on Dr Barnes's educational legacy. In 2012, the Barnes moved to its current home in Philadelphia, a state-of-the-art building designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien ArchitectsPartners. The building provides expanded facilities for educational programs as well as special exhibitions and visitor amenities, and the grounds, designed by OLIN, recall the Barnes Arboretum in Merion, notably the cedars and Japanese maples. Dr Barnes's collection is presented within a 12,000-square-foot gallery that replicates the dimensions and layouts of the original Merion space.