The Devil and Dr Barnes

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7039.1169a (Published 04 May 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1169
  1. Peter Dormer

    Howard Greenfield Marion Boyars, £12.95, pp 310 ISBN 0 7145 3006 9

    Albert Barnes MD was an American monster who collected art on a grand scale and turned famous scholars and young academics into milksops. Barnes became the Richard Nixon of an art world which he terrorised from his infamous Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia.

    Barnes (1870-1951) was a doctor who did not practise because it would have taken him too long to make money from the profession. He made his millions quickly from manufacturing Argyrol, a silver compound based antiseptic which he and a German chemist invented. Having made his pile he started buying art. He bought Renoirs by the armful and he was the …

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