The ongoing legal battle over the Barnes Foundation‘s move from Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, to Philadelphia continued today, with a county court hearing new arguments from a citizens group that has long opposed the relocation of the prized art collection, the Associated Press reports.
The group, Friends of the Barnes Foundation, has alleged that the Barnes’ board misled officials when it argued that it needed to move to Philadelphia in order to attract more visitors and increase its flow of revenue. Though their previous legal efforts to stop the move have been unsuccessful, the Friends’ new suit argues that the attorney general who approved the move, Mike Fisher, inappropriately encouraged the plan, failing to act as a neutral, impartial party in discussions.
The Barnes argues that Mr. Fisher was not required to be neutral, only to act in the best interests of Pennsylvania, and it further maintains that the citizens group has no standing to bring suit.
Founded by pharmaceutical entrepreneur Dr. Albert C. Barnes in 1922, the Barnes Foundation’s collection features a trove of Impressionist and Modern works, including more than 180 works by Renoir and 44 works by Picasso. Dr. Barnes’ will stated that the works were not to be moved following his death. He died in 1951.
As the AP notes, the never-ending melee over Barnes has begun to seem a bit ridiculous since the foundation’s new Philadelphia home is nearing completion, and is set to open to the public in the spring of 2012.