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In re Barnes Foundation

2004 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 344, 2004 WL 2903655 (2004)

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In re Barnes Foundation

Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas

2004 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 344, 2004 WL 2903655 (2004)

Facts

Dr. Albert Barnes purchased an extensive personal collection of modern art. Barnes created The Barnes Foundation (foundation) (plaintiff) to manage the art collection. The foundation created a gallery in Merion, Pennsylvania that housed the collection. Barnes also created a charitable trust to fund the foundation. The trust’s stated purpose was to promote education and appreciation of the fine arts. Barnes placed numerous restrictions on the trust’s ability to make investments and to display the art collection, including a requirement that the collection remain in Merion. After Barnes died, these restrictions and other issues caused the foundation to experience significant financial difficulties that threatened its continued existence. The trustees (plaintiffs) believed that the only way to save the foundation was to (1) increase the number of trustees in order to allow more foundations to participate in the trust’s management and (2) move the art collection to a new location in downtown Philadelphia. However, both actions would violate the trust’s original terms. The trustees petitioned to have the court change the trust’s terms in order to prevent the trust from failing completely.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ott, J.)

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