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University of Pennsylvania
Albert Barnes and his pursuit of non-French art in Paris
Albert Barnes and his pursuit of non-French art in Paris

Dr. Albert Coombs Barnes of Philadelphia made his first art-buying trip to Paris in 1912. Barnes returned year after year until he finally amassed the greatest private collection of Modern art in America. While doing so, he cultivated a reputation as imperious, contemptuous, irascible and unconventional. But he also demonstrated a magnificent eye for the finest of avant-garde painting. Barnes was both a medical doctor and a chemist, and his wealth came from the discovery of Argyrol, an awful-smelling potion that millions of mothers used to swab the throats or drip into the nostrils of children with sore throats and running noses in those days before antibiotics. Barnes did not invent...

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