I made a second visit to the Barnes on Monday, some additional insights
You enter the large lobby after passing through a small ante room. This time I experienced the lobby in a dramatically more intense manner. It appeared vast and I had the feeling of standing in a great space from antiquity. Like the hypostyle hall at karnak:
Standing in the lobby with the east to my back and looking west the the south wall was to my left. It is a large expanse of Jerusalem limestone with windows much like the outside wall facing the parkway. It appears as a Beaux Atrs facade of a large classical inspired building from the 18th or 17th c. Above my head was a vast luminous sky of etheral diffused light. The wall on my right(north wall) was also of Jerusalem limestone for 3/4th of the length of the wall. Here the limestone was chiseled with horizontal rows of short vertical cuts. From a distance it looks like a wall of an ancient temple with cuneiform writing. The first quarter of the north wall is where you enter into the lobby itself.
I did not have this insight the first visit. I think I know why. The first day was a reception and the lobby was full of people and music and I'm sure very distracting.
The only thing that I see that is a little less than perfect about this building(IMHO) is that from the parkway the "light box"
seems jarring and not in harmonmy with the overall massing of the building. Maybe my opinion will change over time.
Arthur J Petrella
The Olive Tree
To: "ron anderson" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "David Bender" <email@example.com>, "pixie biddle" <landmarksElderh@aol.com>, "margret carlin" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "ellen adams" <email@example.com>, "Harrold Farrey" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "barbara gast" <email@example.com>, "greta greenberger" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "ken hall" <JERZEYKEN@aol.com>, "Margaret Hallenbeck" <Margaret.Hallenbeck@ssa.gov>, "mary jane hamaker" <MaryHamaker8@gmail.com>, "joe haro" <email@example.com>, "Hinde" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "sharon art jaffe" <email@example.com>, "barry jeffries" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "mary mitchell" <email@example.com>, "Milt Petersen" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "ellen prantle" <EPrantl@klingstubbins.com>, "Kathy Rodgers" <email@example.com>, "robert rose" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Tom Runiewicz" <Tom.Runiewicz@globalinsight.com>, "alan ruscoe" <email@example.com>, "tom" <Tomdkh@comcast.net>, "richard wennersten" <RLWenn@aol.com>, "ann warsing" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Neuberger1" <Neuberger1@aol.com>
Sent: Sunday, May 20, 2012 8:53:08 PM
Subject: Comments on our visit to the new Barnes Foundation
Today Suzan and I visited the new Barnes Foundation on the Parkway.
The most stunning and amazing change from the old Barnes is the quality of the light, both natural and artificial! Every painting seemed to eminate light and the colors were rich and deep almost as if they were all recently cleaned(which they were not)
Although the interior spaces, i.e., lobby, restaurant, library, and galleries, are executed in a modern minimalist aesthetic, the effect is visually very satisfying. This is bacause all the materials are exspensive and richly detailed. e.g., Jerusalem limestone sometimes with a honed surface that shows a moteled surface with honey colored veining against a softer lighter brown background, and sometimes a uniform cream color with a surface that has been worked to create a beaded surface. The use of bronze entrance doors frames with glass covered with an African abstract design and Ipe Brazillian wood floors worked into a hairingbone pattered throught the galleries gives one a feeling of the highest quality workmanship.
Of course everything is designed to highlight the paintings themselves and this is done to a dramatic effect.
The forced path from 20th street to the lobby entrance removes you from the noise and movement of people and cars and carries you through a garden and helps create a contemplative mood before you enter the building.
The transition from very abstact design of the exterior to the slightly more detailed gallery space is not at all jarring but subtle and gradual.
I'm taking some guests back tomorrow so I'll see how these first impessions hold up on a second visit.
Arthur J Petrella
The Olive Tree