Art Held Hostage: The Battle over the Barnes Collection

by: John Anderson Ph.D. (0)

“Money, pretension, horrid behavior by cultured people” (New York) ―John Anderson’s tale delivers it all in fabulously juicy detail.

This is the story of how a fabled art foundation―the greatest collection of impressionist and postimpressionist art in America, including 69 Cézannes, 60 Matisses, and 44 Picassos, among many priceless others―came to be, and how more than a decade of legal squabbling brought it to the brink of collapse and to a move that many believe betrayed the wishes of the founder, Dr. Albert C. Barnes (1872―1951). Art Held Hostage is now updated with a new epilogue by the author covering the current state of this international treasure and the endless battle over its fate. 8 pages of photographs

The Reviews

The Barnes Museum was frought with many challenges. This book goes into detail of all the people who egos and political hunger got in the way of celebrating, promoting and protecting the art. It was sad to see the seaming corruption in my home town so clearly presented. The author did a lot of home work. He worked hard to be a respectful finger pointer.The new museum which has a much more accessible location Ihas all of the problems of the original location in terms of standing back to look at the art. The rooms are small, the guests are plentiful and you can't step far enough back to fully take in the work. The new museum on the Parkway is a contemporary building with the old Barnes house architecturally rebuilt within it. It would have been interesting to the general public to learn more about the dynamics behind that.I also kept expecting to hear from the author with more strength state that the public, the investors and the judges if I remember correctly were fed up with all the ongoing expensive litigation that seemed so constant in it's old location under the control of the Lincoln College.This book was definitely an interning read. I would recommend it.

John Anderson’s “Art Held Hostage” looks in on the spectacular 25 billion dollar art collection assembled by Dr. Albert C Barnes and the questionable management after its founders death in 1951. Although Anderson does at times get bogged down with names and anticedent details, it mainly follow the foundation after being turned over to Lincoln University, a cash strapped college traditionally for blacks seeking a quality education. This is a book begging for an updating, considering The Barnes archive is now available to scholars and writers. A more complete understanding of the topic could be expunged with its use.A good read if you have the patience!

Behind most great art collections are fools, poseurs and heroes. The emergence of Van Gogh, as the genius he was, depended on his courageous sister-in-law who took his paintings back home to Holland, protected them and marketed his genius. Gifts to a the National Gallery of Art and the Yale Center for British Art arose through the generosity of Andrew and Paul Mellon as detailed in David Cannadine's biography "Mellon." Calvin Tomkins, and others, have written well about the Metropolitan Museum of Art and its benefactors. Then, there are the fools and poseurs in John Anderson's excoriating expose "Art Held Hostage" which details the breach of trust to the Barnes Collection by the leaders of Lincoln University outside of Philadelphia. Add in the stench of Pennsylvania politics, the toxic brew of race and out comes a tragicomedy, a farce, until the adults mercifully remove the fabled collection from the kids' sandbox on Latches Lane in Lower Merion Township to Philadelphia where maturity reigns. Anderson does an admirable and thorough job in this short critique by holding the story line together amidst a welter of names, characters, quotes and counter-quotes and bizarre events occurring over a decade of tomfoolery committed by the stewards of Lincoln University. Paging through the exquisite catalogue accompanying the 1993 multi city international tour of the French Impressionists, it is so obvious that Lincoln University, bequeathed one of the great art treasures by the eccentric Albert Barnes, utterly failed in its responsibility to art, to its place as an educational institution of higher learning and to posterity. Anderson's book should be the starting point for the soon to be released movie called "The Art of the Steal," whose title in and of itself hints on which side of the debate it comes down upon.

I heard about Art Held Hostage on a radio talk show and had to head straight to Amazon to get it.I was fortunate to get to see the Barnes Collection when it came to Fort Worth years ago and to read of the real history of the collection was like completing the full circle of knowledge.I have read another book of some art collections but this one really stands above others, being specifically of a collection I really enjoy.The background maneuvering to build the collection was interesting and obtaining the various pieces of art makes for an intriguing read

This is an interesting story but not very well told. Too much detail where it doesn't matter.

Great story about the fighting around the Barnes Collection, with numerous details, cases, etc. Not so much about the collection itself.Still, an easy and enjoyable read.

After seeing the documentary The Art of the Steal i wanted to read about the details. This book is excellent and dives even deeper on this shocking situation. I recommend seeing the documentary first and then reading the book.

Interesting story but poorly written and goes off on tangents

Art Held Hostage: The Battle over the Barnes Collection
⭐ 4.2 💛 31
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