A playful room-by-room "bird-watching" guide to the Albert C. Barnes galleries. Rumor has it that Dr. Barnes put a bird in every room of his famed collection. But is this really true, and if so, why? The Barnes Foundation collection offers an astounding array of art, focusing on post-impressionist and early modern masters: Renoir, Cézanne, Picasso, and Matisse. However, interspersed among these notable greats is a different kind of collection that incorporates folk art, pottery, furniture, and ironwork from cultures around the world. The instructional collection is built around a philosophy of individual interpretation, and following the birds from one room to another offers you an accessible starting point for uncovering the educational methods Dr. Barnes used to encourage students to look at art. This lighthearted tour weaves art, history, and lessons on the collection into a delightful search for birds hiding in the gallery.
Julie Steiner has worked at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia for more than a decade. She has a degree in art from Smith College and is also the author of A Short Biography of Paul Cézanne.