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Barnes, Albert Coombs

American, 1873 - 1951

Albert Coombs Barnes was born in South Philadelphia in 1873, attended Central High School, and paid his own way at the University of Pennsylvania Medial School through tutoring and semi-professional baseball. After earning his medical degree in 1892, he studied in Germany, where he met the bacteriologist Dr. Paul Erlich. His association with Erlich lead to Barnes' development of the formula for the antiseptic Argyrol, the source of Barnes' fortune. Barnes began his famous art collection when he commissioned his friend, the artist William Glackens, to purchase modern paintings for him while in Europe. Glackens returned from France with 20 paintings, the genesis of the Barnes art collection. The Barnes collection was and is housed at his estate in Merion, PA. He was the author of five volumes on art and art theory. Barnes married the former Laura Leggett of Brooklyn. He died on 24 July 1951 in an automobile accident in his native Philadelphia.
McBride, Henry. "Dr. Barnes R.I.P." Art News. 50 (1951) 14+
The New York Times, 25 July 1951 [obituary]
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