The Art of the Steal

The Art of the Steal

directed by

Don Argott

From the New York Times:

Money, power, race, a mansion stuffed with treasure, a city plagued by scandal — about all that’s missing from “The Art of the Steal,” a hard-hitting documentary about a high-cultural brawl, is a hot woman with a warm gun. At the heart of the movie, energetically directed and argued by Don Argott, is the celebrated Barnes Foundation, which houses a private collection in suburban Philadelphia (here, a city of brotherly love and loathing) groaning with European masterworks, African sculptures, Asian prints, American Indian ceramics, among other items. The foundation even owns a farmhouse furnished with decorative arts, and its surrounding 12-acre arboretum is filled with rare flora from around the globe. It isn’t the Chilean monkey puzzle tree, though, that has had curators, academics, journalists and politicians pointing fingers and crying foul in recent years: it’s the art, especially the post-Impressionist and early Modernist paintings signed by the likes of Cézanne, Picasso, Renoir, Degas, Manet, Monet and Van Gogh. — Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

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