If you’re a fan of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings, get yourself to the Barnes Foundation in Merion, Pa. Why now? The foundation is constructing new galleries for its $25 billion collection on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in downtown Philadelphia, set to open late next year. The current Merion galleries will close to the public next July for the big move.
To see the foundation’s original 23 galleries, we suggest you schedule a visit now. Masterworks by Gauguin, Manet, Picasso and van Gogh hang salon style from floor to ceiling in fancifully painted rooms, amid African sculptures and Pennsylvania Dutch decorative arts. Yes, it can be overwhelming, but you can relax mid-visit by walking the foundation’s 12-acre grounds, aptly named the Arboretum. The gardens include a fern collection, lilac groves, trees that date back to the 1880s, and more than 3,000 species of international woody plants.
The new galleries in Philadelphia will replicate the current galleries as closely as possible, and also provide much-needed classroom, conservation and public space. For details, visit www.barnesfoundation.org.