NOW LIVE: Eyewitness News

Philadelphia’s New Jewel: The Barnes, Part 5

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The collection of Impressionist and early Modernist works amassed by Dr. Albert Barnes on the walls of the Merion campus employed 1920s-era lighting technology.

But Derek Gillman, executive director of the Barnes Foundation, says the new home includes a state-of-the-art lighting system which will enable visitors to see the art in a more natural setting.

“The collection is revealed completely afresh,” he says.

Gillman says one of the great triumphs of the new building is that it is, in his words, “lit to a standard that is equal to the collection.”

“The skills which are known now in lighting design were not available when Barnes built it,” he explains.

The lighting, he says, is computer-designed to get optimal light balance, “and you see paintings in the galleries which were so recessive, you just didn’t notice them.”

Gillman says even those familiar with the Merion setting will see elements within the paintings differently:

“The paintings have all got these voices.  Symphonically, the whole collection is singing in a way that it just hasn’t done before.”

Read Part 1: The Galleries

Read Part 2: The Landscaping

Read Part 3:  Contentious History

Read Part 4: Continuing Controversy


Listen to KYW Newsradio 1060 all week long for more on the new Barnes Museum, opening May 19th on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia. 

And listen on Friday, May 18th, as KYW Newsradio broadcasts “Reporters Roundup,” live from the Barnes, 12 noon to 1pm!

More from Steve Tawa
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