The Art of the Steal | Chicago Reader

The Art of the Steal

Rated NR 101 minutes 2010

Philadelphia pharmaceutical baron Albert C. Barnes saw greatness in the canvases of Matisse and Van Gogh long before the curatorial caste caught on to post-Impressionism, and before he died he took great pains to protect his world-class art collection from both the grasping Philly establishment and the eyes of the unwashed millions. The restrictive terms of his will notwithstanding, a cabal of politicians and unscrupulous nonprofiteers recently contrived to highjack and commercialize Barnes's treasure through underhanded legal maneuvers and shrewd media manipulation. Documentary maker Don Argott (Rock School) beautifully explicates how this crew pulled off the most daring daylight art theft in history, though his passionate identification with the pro-Barnes faction limits the movie's political nuance.

Film Credits

Director: Don Argott

Producer: Lenny Feinberg and Sheena M. Joyce

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