About the Film
Born into a working class family in Philadelphia, Albert C. Barnes became a multi-millionaire. As his fortune grew, Barnes developed a taste for art and in time assembled one of the world’s most remarkable private collections, featuring original paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, Picasso, Cezanne and many other important artists. Barnes created the Barnes Foundation, a private gallery where he kept his collection in suburban Merion, PA, rather than share it with institutions such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Barnes died in 1951 and made strict provisions in his will that his collection was not to be sold, lent to other museums, or removed from the grounds of the Barnes Foundation. This film explores how greed, political power and good intentions colluded to violate Barnes’s wishes and scatter his collection across the globe.
The Art Of The Steal was an official selection at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.
A hard-hitting documentary about a high-cultural brawl. – The New York Times