Art of the Steal (Region 1 DVD)

Dispatched in 25 to 35 working days
No reviews yet.
Raru User Review Competition: Write a Review and Win! 1 x R500 Raru Voucher up for grabs every month! Details...


Art for whose sake? It's been called the greatest theft of art since the Second World War. The Art of the Steal reveals how a private collection of paintings became the envy of the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other major institutions - and the prize in a battle between one man's vision and the forces of commerce and politics. Founded in 1922 by wealthy American drug developer and art collector Albert C. Barnes, the Barnes Foundation became the finest collection of paintings by Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse, Van Gogh and other masters. Housed in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, the Barnes Foundation was envisioned by Barnes as an art school, not a public museum, but ever since Barnes' death in 1951, the fight over it's future has been underway. On one side are the artists, historians and lawyers defending Barnes' wish that the entire collection (valued at over $25 billion) never be moved, loaned or sold; and on the other side, the politicians, huge charitable trusts, tourism boards and rich socialites pushing to relocate it to downtown Philadelphia. This is a real-life David vs. Goliath story, a tale of suspense in which hangs the fate of some of the most sublime works of art ever created.

Product Details

Movies & TV
27 Jul 2010
Region 1
Ifc Independent Film
101 min
Age Restriction
Supply Source


Art of the Steal
Release Year
Running Time
101 min
Education/General Interest / World History/Culture / Disaster / Documentary
US Box Office
$0.4 million
Official Website
Rotten Tomatoes®
85% 87%
Born into a working-class family in Philadelphia, Albert C. Barnes was a man who through hard work and determination became a doctor and medical researcher, founding a successful pharmaceutical firm that made him a multimillionaire. As his fortune grew, Barnes developed a taste for art and in time assembled one of the world's most remarkable private collections, featuring original paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, Picasso, Cézanne, and many other important artists. Barnes relied on his own instincts rather than the advice of experts when he bought paintings, and he had little use for the pretentious attitudes of Philadelphia's art collectors and high society; the animosity between Barnes and the city's art establishment grew to the point that in 1922 he opened the Barnes Foundation, a private gallery where he kept his collection rather than share it with institutions such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Barnes Foundation was open by invitation only, and the doctor preferred to have his collection seen by students and serious art lovers rather than those he felt didn't appreciate the work. Barnes died in 1951, and made strict provisions in his will that his collection was not to be sold, lent to other museums, or removed from the grounds of the Barnes Foundation. Lincoln University, a traditionally African-American college, was appointed to oversee the foundation's collection. But after the death of Barnes' protégée Violette de Mazia in 1988, Lincoln University's trustees took full control of the collection, now estimated to be worth 25 billion dollars, and a number of individuals and organizations inexperienced in the world of art laid hands upon the Barnes archive. THE ART OF THE STEAL is a documentary by Don Argott that explores how greed, political power, and good intentions colluded to violate Albert C. Barnes' wishes and scatter his collection across the globe. THE ART OF THE STEAL was an official selection at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.
Release Notes
DVD Features:
  • Region 1
  • Note: Trailer
  • Widescreen - 1.78
  • Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo - English
  • Subtitles - English, Spanish
Poster for Art of the Steal
Cast & Crew
Don Argott
West Thordson
Director of Photography
Don Argott
Gary E. Irwin
Music Editor
Suzana Peric
Music Director
Susan Jacobs / West Thordson
John Anderson / Bailey, Colin B. / Julian Bond / Carolyn T. Carluccio / David d'Arcy / Richard L. Feigen / D. Michael Fisher / Lucinda Fleeson / Tom L. Freudenheim / Jim Gerlach / William Glackens / Richard H. Glanton / Nancy Herman / Walter Herman / Christopher Knight / Bruce H. Mann / Robert Marmon / Toby Marmon / Ross L. Mitchell / Barry Munitz / Irv Nahan / Marcelle Pick / David W. Rawson / Jay Raymond / Edward G. Rendell / Mark D. Schwartz / Harry Sefarbi / John Street / Nick Tinari / Bernard C. Watson / Dr. Robert Zaller
Additional DOP
Demian Fenton / Ben Hickernell
Movie Critics
Chicago Sun-Times
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "[Barnes] designed every detail of his collection with personal care, grouping paintings to reflect and comment on one another....He loved his collection..."
Roger Ebert (12 Mar 2010, )
Entertainment Weekly
"A suspenseful art-world documentary in which the forces of art and money collide ferociously." -- Grade: B+
Owen Gleiberman (12 Mar 2010, )
Los Angeles Times
"[Y]ou're likely to be flabbergasted as THE ART OF THE STEAL details the twists and turns of chicanery and fate that brought his art to the pass it's at today."
Kenneth Turan (12 Mar 2010, )