Friday, September 25, 2009

Seriously: No Pictures Beyond This Point.

THE BARNES FOUNDATION gallery is among the most amazing collections of art I've ever seen. You can get within sneezing distance of the 181 Renoir's, 69 Cezanne's, 59 Matisse's and handful of Van Gogh's.

But you can't take pictures anywhere inside.

Technically, you aren't even allowed to have a camera in your possession inside the private facility. There are security cameras in every corner of every room, and there are security guards throughout the facility.

But the foundation is otherwise progressive when it comes to images of their art work. They have digitized every single piece in the collection, including the three-dimensional pieces. Images are made available to educational and commercial outlets upon request, a spokesperson told me. There can be fees for commercial use of the images, with fees varying based upon intent of the product. Images for educational use are generally free, though that can vary as well.

The spokesperson said that camera restrictions are in place for two reasons. First, the flash can damage the art. Second, this allows the foundation to control the use of images of the gallery. When the collection moves to the Ben Franklin Parkway in 2011, the photo policy may be reassessed, the spokesman said.

Until then, the closest thing you'll get to a family snapshot will be outside the current facility.

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