advertisement

Moved (contentiously) from its original suburban home to anchor the Logan Circle end of Philadelphia's Museum Mile, this world-renown museum is stuffed with some 8,000 largely Impressionist and Post-Impressionist works by Renoir (181 of those), and dozens of canvases each by Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, and Van Gogh. Surrounded by exhibition spaces and a large atrium, the core of the new building was carefully constructed to mimic precisely the rooms of the original location, a layout in which Albert Barnes (1872–1951) himself—a pharmaceutical tycoon with some quite, er, original ideas about art theory—fussily arranged his paintings alongside primitive sculpture, Pennsylvania Dutch furniture, and antique everyday objects (think iron hinges).

In the large main room, Matisse painted the mural "The Dance II" to fit precisely beneath the (reconstructed) arches, above a painting "Card Players," one of Cézanne's favorite subjects, and Models, Seurat's study for his famed "Ile de la Grande Jatte" (a treasure of the Art Institute of Chicago).

Among notable works in other rooms: Van Gogh’s "Postman," a portrait of the artist's mailman Joseph Roulin; Scout Attacked by a Tiger," one of Rousseau's signature jungle scenes; and Picasso's paternal, symbolist painting "Harlequins."   Among the objets, don’t miss "Seated Couple," one of Barnes’ 200 African sculptures.

The number of visitors is strictly limited, and entries are timed, so it is wise to book tickets ahead of time.