Sunday, January 9, 2011
Where does art belong?
The Art of the Steal, on netflix.
2009 101 minutes
A gripping tale of intrigue and mystery in the art world, this film traces the history of the Barnes collection of Post-Impressionist paintings, which was worth billions and became the subject of a power struggle after the 1951 death of the owner. Dr. Albert Barnes collected 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos and many other valuable paintings. But the political wrangling over the collection eventually led to its division.
Questions: Where does art belong? Does it belong in a museum or in private collections or both? Should an art collector's wishes be granted after death and according to the will? Or should the art, especially in the case of great art as was the Barnes Collection, belong to the public after the death of the collector? Should the art collection become the property of the rich and powerful and even that of charitable organizations?