The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia is home to 4021 examples of classic, impressionist, modern, and decorative art. Now, Artnet News reports that over half of the items in its collection have been made available to view online on an open access basis.
Of the 2081 newly published works, 1429 are now officially in the public domain. The public domain section of its massive web collection includes work by Paul Cezanne, Vincent van Gogh, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Unlike their online images under copyright, these pictures can be zoomed in to view them in detail and even downloaded by visitors to the website.
In the past few years, major art institutions like the Museum of Modern Art, the Getty Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum have become more generous about sharing their holdings online. But the move is a big change for the Barnes Foundation, which has followed strict rules about how its collection should be handled since it was founded in 1922. The foundation famously didn't allow any color reproductions of its items to be published until the 1990s. With the new open access project, the museum's directors hope to move the Barnes into the digital age.
Shelley Bernstein, deputy director of audience engagement and chief experience officer at the Barnes, wrote in a blog post:
"As we were rethinking the presentation of our collection online we were considering the sensitivity Barnes had around color reproduction, but we also had to think about the needs of today’s students, researchers, and scholars. It goes without saying that the work of other institutions — the open access initiative at the Met, especially — helped make these decisions much easier."
Art enthusiasts can start freely exploring the digital collection today.
[h/t Artnet News]