During his lifetime (1922-1925), self-made millionaire Dr. Albert Barnes amassed the collection (valued at over $25 billion in 2009) that includes an incredible number of Cézannes, Matisses, Modiglianis, Picassos and Renoirs.
But in the early 1990s those in charge of the foundation lost sight of Barnes’ vision and began to chip away at its security. The Art of the Steal is a well-researched and fascinating look into an endemic raping and pillaging of culture exacted with an erroneous idea that “culture is industry.”
Along with the defiant voices of the former Barnes Foundation students attempting to save it, the film is a not-so-veiled plea for someone or some entity to save the Barnes Foundation before it’s too late. If only that could happen. Grade: A