Tired of the Barnes saga? Read about the Terra

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Victor Cassidy’s feature at artnet about the closing (in 2004) of Chicago’s Terra Museum of American Art gave me momentary pause. Substitute the word “Barnes” for “Terra” and you get a scary read.

Of course in most respects, Terra is not at all like Barnes. The Terra is a Museum. The Barnes is not — it’s first and foremost a teaching collection. Terra doesn’t have a blockbuster collection. Barnes does. Its collection is valued above $25 million.

So here’s what’s similar. Terra’s founder, Daniel J. Terra, was a cantankerous millionaire who battled with Chicago’s art establishment. And over time the institution became mired in litigation; forgotten as an art destination; and now, due to lack of money, it’s closing. And there’s the echo. (image, top is Albert Barnes, image left is Daniel Terra)

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