Kessler writes: "There are many good reasons why breaking the Barnes trust was a bad idea... And while a case can be made that this type of installation is a cultural artifact worth preserving, there are other ways, short of wholesale preservation, to document it. The bottom line is I LOVED the new Barnes... all of [the] criticisms come to nothing when confronted with the art - it will make you weep with joy! They have 69 Cézannes—more than in all the museums in Paris... And they have Matisse's Joy of Life which, along with Picasso's Demoiselles D’Avignon, is one of the landmarks of twentieth-century art. And now Joy of Life is in its own alcove instead of hanging in a stairway as in the old Barnes... And it absolutely glows. "
On the occasion of the opening of the new Barnes Foundation musuem in Philadelphia, Jed Perl re-reads The Art of Painting and The Art of Renoir by Dr. Albert C. Barnes.
Both books, Perl writes "have a blunt, evangelical force; they’re textbooks dedicated to transcendent values, written at a time when Barnes, a friend and disciple of John Dewey, believed that an appreciation for art could really change a person’s life... Barnes was an apostle of formal values, pressing the American public to understand paintings not in terms of narrative and representation but in terms of the power of color and composition to provoke feeling and meaning... the more of Barnes you read, the more you will discover a formalism of rare power - an exploration of the many ways in which formal values reflect and refract the full range of human values."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.