DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Non-Profit Doc Recounts
Starting in the early 20th Century, Dr. Albert C. Barnes (1872-1951) began quietly amassing a priceless art collection which included hundreds of pieces by Van Gogh, Renoir, Cezanne, Picasso, Matisse and other emerging masters at a time well before they became household names in the
In 1922, he opened the Barnes Foundation in suburban
However, the art establishment would belatedly acknowledge Dr. Barnes’ uncanny eye for treasures, and come to covet his collection, when its value grew to over $25 billion. Still, at the end of his life, he would leave his estate to
This bequest ignited a firestorm of controversy, as powerful politicians and mainstream museum directors immediately started scheming to wrest control of the Barnes from the little black college which had been named the beneficiary of its founder’s will. That protracted legal battle is the subject of The Art of the Steal, a fascinating documentary recounting how a combination of racism, arrogance and shady shenanigans enabled a group of entitled crooks in philanthropists’ clothing to pull off a billion-dollar heist, thereby frustrating the last wishes of a true champion of the people.
A tragic, true tale exposing
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 101 minutes
Studio: IFC Films/MPI Home Video
DVD Extras: Theatrical trailer.