The Art Of The Steal - 7 stars out of 10
"The Art Of The Steal" is a sometimes-dry-but-oft-informative documentary about the dirty politics that led to $4.5 billion worth of art being taken over by the city of Philadelphia. The famous Barnes collection, the world's greatest collection of post--Impressionist artwork, has a rich history that is explained throughout the film, all centered around the litigation that slowly broke Barnes' will. The pieces were never to leave their home in Lower Merion, PA and yet, lawyers and politicians managed to send the collection on a world tour and eventually move it to a permanent home in downtown Philadelphia. This one hits close to home as it takes place in our own backyard and involves several figures that we know, including former Gov. Ed Rendell and the Pew family (contributors to Grove City College). The editing helps the film to have a good pace and focuses in on the intrigue, although it doesn't come off as a thriller like "Man On Wire." There isn't as much artwork in the film as I would have liked but I am very excited to visit the Barnes Foundation someday now that I know it's rich history and list of paintings by Renoire, Cezanne, Matisse, Degas, Van Gogh, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc!