By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s latest cultural star has opened its doors to the multi-billion dollar art collection of Albert Barnes at a brand new Center City campus.
And Friday was the dedication ceremony of the Barnes Foundation at 20th and the Parkway.
The move from Merion to Philadelphia’s Museum Row is both controversial and celebrated. Critics say it essentially broke Albert Barnes’ will to have the collection stay put and not moved an inch–let alone five miles. Supporters say it wouldn’t have survived in the suburbs:
“People kept saying, ‘If Dr. Barnes were here, he would say it was terrible,’” says Ed Rendell, former mayor and governor, who was in-office when the relocation plans were announced. “I said, ‘Look, the people in charge intend to replicate what Dr. Barnes created in Merion.’”
In the main gallery, Rendell pointed to masterpieces like Cezanne’s “Card Players” and Seurat’s “The Models.”
“When you come see this, you’ll be shocked. My wife, Midge, was shocked at how this looks exactly the same,” Rendell says.
Timed tickets to see the renowned collection are on sale now. Because the new home mimics the scale, proportion and configuration of the original Merion galleries, a maximum of 150 visitors will be admitted per hour.