Beginning in the early 20th century, French artist Marie Laurencin (1883–1956) created a unique pictorial world that placed women at the center of modern art. With a highly original painting style that defied categorization, she moved seamlessly between the male-dominated cubist avant-garde, lesbian literary and artistic circles, and the realms of fashion, ballet, and decorative arts.
To the unassuming student or visitor, the arrangement of the Barnes Foundation's collection can be surprising, confusing, or outright frustrating. This was by design. Dr. Barnes deliberately created a visual environment that would disrupt even the most seasoned gallerygoer's complacency. The ensembles are meant to provoke as well as instruct. By juxtaposing objects of dissimilar traditions, subjects, and media, Dr. Barnes drew attention to specific relationships between and among works in his collection. All aspects of the ensembles-the objects, paintings, frames, and their arrangement-is the work of the collector himself.
Learn more about the Barnes ensembles and method in The Barnes Foundation Handbook.