Everyone loves a juicy scandal and a brilliant piece of art, so why not both? Welcome to the documentary expose, The Art of the Steal (dir. Don Argott). Beginning in 1922, Albert C. Barnes has cultivated one of the most impressive art collections in America. Hosting a rich collection of 181 Renoirs, 69 Cézannes, 59 Matisses, 46 Picassos. No doubt, a weighty collection of canonical, eye-widening names. Impressive, yes. Expensive as hell? You got it.
So where's the scandal? Barnes died in 1951 and left a legacy which many have fought over, queueing up this documentary. In his will, Barnes specified that the collection was not to be loaned, sold, or moved. Talk about being precise - since Barnes wanted the collection to remain in Merion, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia.
It didn't take long for prying minds and wandering aesthetes to try to get a handle on the Barnes Foundation. When the Foundation sought help because of near bankruptcy. Instead of helping out the Barnes Foundation and leaving it in Merion as per the founder's wishes, the slow battle of moving art work to Philadelphia's Fairmount Park museum district. Is it a "crime"? Many sides weigh-in and points to a group of higher-ups hatching a plan to move the collection around. Perhaps, one of the loftiest heists - the Foundation is worth an estimated $25 billion dollars. How about them apples?
The Art of the Steal is currently showing in New York and will be opening in Los Angeles starting March 12th.