Wyeth and Wilmington? 


Whenever we think of certain things around the world, there is an immediate connection between the object and its place. For example, when one thinks of the Great Pyramids, Egypt immediately comes to mind. When you think of Paris, the Louvre pops into popular attention, Philadelphia and the Liberty Bell, Simon and Garfunkel, the Philly cheese steak and so on.
That connection is the same with the Barnes Foundation and Lower Merion. Anything else other than this combination would be quite misunderstood and foreign to our Delaware Valley ears. I cannot imagine Hershey, Pennsylvania without chocolate; it is the same as with the Barnes Foundation and Lower Merion. Their seemingly love-hate relationship has come to epitomize the eccentric relationship Dr.Barnes would have relished…just like a hot dog with mustard, or New York with the Empire State Building! For years now there have been multiple attempts to move the beloved collection from its Lower Merion home to a new place on the

Benjamin Franklin Parkway

. The completion of such a move would wreak havoc on not only popular public legend and lure, but it would be terribly devastating to the enduring sour relationship provided by Dr. Barnes in the establishment of his peculiar artistic legacy.
Imagine an art community that no longer has an issue to discuss about the state of the Barnes Foundation. Such an intellectual pursuit of perpetual discussion would be the demise as catastrophic as the blissful relationship between Mickey and Minnie Mouse. It would be right up there with the exploits of Tom and Jerry if the perennially mischievous cat would ever get his way! I must confess however, I am still not quite certain which is Tom and which is Jerry! But that is part of the allure…the perpetual struggle to achieve feline domination over the rodent world!
What would we do if the legacy and image of Dr.Barnes were transformed into a cheery happy faced humanitarian individual that wanted the entire world to experience the magnificence of his art collection? Such an image would be akin to Joseph Stalin having a huge smile or Hitler sans moustache! Freud without the id, ego and superego…it would really mess things up!
Besides offering a quirky and often misunderstood legacy the Barnes Foundation is the quintessential peanut butter and jelly sandwich entrée that goes perfectly hand-in-hand with a Delaware Valley rags to riches story, just like Chadds Ford and the Wyeth legacy belongs together. Or was that Wyeth and Wilmington….I can’t remember!
Or was that ham and cheese, Boston and the tepid tea party, Valley Forge and the Continental Army, Lord Nelson and the Spanish Armada, Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, Benny and the Jets, Peter, Paul and Mary and so on. I think you get my message…just like Romeo and Juliet! 

 

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