Breakthrough Research

Claire Cossaboon
A breakthrough in my thesis research easily was when I took a trip to the archives at the Barnes Foundation’s Merion campus. I met with Barbara Beaucar, Associate Archivist at the Barnes Foundation. We discussed so much about The Barnes’ history, especially Dr. Barnes’ letters. Specifically, Barbara provided a scan of an original note by Albert C. Barnes, from January 31, 1927. This note was sent to Paul Guilliume, and it includes a sketch by Dr. Barnes (pictured above) directing where new pieces should be moved and arranged among his ensembles in his collection. This sketch provides such rich insight into the reasoning and experience behind Dr. Barnes’ ensembles. This note’s sketch played a direct influence on The Barnes’ new visual and experience brands. One can directly see the reflection of the sketch in the new logo.

The new logo reflects the ensemble and education experiences that were important to Dr. Barnes, as well as fit the Barnes Foundation’s mission much better. 

The Barnes Foundation’s former logo was collection-based–referring to the Baule door, a part of the African art collection. The old logo refers mainly to an object in the collection, while the new logo refers to the collection, but also more in reference to the Barnes experience.

Visiting the Merion campus, the archives, and speaking with Barbara Beaucar has certainly been a breakthrough experience for my thesis research.