Skip to main content


Based on 19 Reviews
critic reviews (10)
fan reviews ( 2 )
  • 70
    Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal

    What The Art of the Steal documents most dramatically is the irresistible pull of irreplaceable art. show more

  • 63
    Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer

    As a movie, Steal is as finely wrought as the decorative ironworks that hang on the walls of the Barnes between Picassos and Seurats. Yet as a narrative of the facts, it is as one-sided as a plaintiff's brief. show more

  • 60
    Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News

    Argott treats Barnes' story as an intellectual crime thriller, uncovering each new surprise -- and a seemingly endless parade of villains -- with a deadpan flourish. show more

  • 88
    Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times

    What is finally clear: It doesn't matter a damn what your will says if you have $25 billion, and politicians and the establishment want it. show more

  • 75
    Mike Scott New Orleans Times-Picayune

    The Art of the Steal is activist filmmaking, but it's well-done activist filmmaking. And, given that the Barnes fight isn't quite yet over, it could also become the most most important kind of filmmaking: the kind that makes a difference. show more

  • 63
    Ty Burr Boston Globe

    The movie’s never less than entertaining, but you often feel like arguing with the screen, and not in a good way. show more

  • 63
    Joe Williams St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    While the rich people who violated a dead antagonist's wishes seem sleazy (especially when they refuse to be interviewed), transporting world-class artwork five miles to a bigger facility where more people can enjoy it hardly seems like the end of civilization as we know it. show more

  • 80
    Joshua Rothkopf Time Out New York

    Despite the unsubtlety of the movie’s stance, a dizzyingly complex portrait emerges: that of pissed-off museum neighbors, arrogant critics and even the NAACP’s dignified Julian Bond, articulating a racial component. show more

  • 70
    Pam Grady Boxoffice Magazine

    The film can be dry and a little repetitive. For all of that, it still manages to generate a surprising measure of suspense and it produces outrage in abundance. show more

  • 78
    Kimberley Jones Austin Chronicle

    While The Art of the Steal makes a very convincing – even bone-chilling – argument that the people and foundations that essentially hijacked the Barnes Foundation are primarily concerned with tourist dollars and not the preservation of Barnes' legacy, the film fails to even ponder why easier access to some of the world's greatest art treasures might not be an entirely bad thing. show more

  • April 16, 2010 Ronnie Lee
    Report This User

    This is a must see movie . As a supporter of the arts, I am embarassed that I had not followed this situation. I knew that The Barnes Museum was a very special place, similar, in many ways, to Boston's jewel, The Gardner. How sad for Philadelphia that they would rather 'rape; their treasures and do such an injustice to a man's will, rather than hire PR people to bring more tourism into Philly proper. I, for one, will make my pilgrimage to this place to honor Dr. Barnes and his vision.

  • March 21, 2010 Hood14971
    Report This User

    Very well done and illuminating. A look into the politics of art and how these politicians and public "charitable" organizations gain power at the expense of what they are purported to save. Barnes had noble ideas about art education and immersion and to see this dismantled is cause for concern.

similar movies

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

  • The Rape of Europa (2006)

  • Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (2010)

  • Who the ... Is Jackson Pollock? (2006)

  • The Missing Picture (2013)

Stay Connected with Moviefone

Download the Free App!

My Settings

You are currently subscribed as: {email}


Get the latest reviews, movie news, photos, and trailers sent straight to your inbox.

Weekly Newsletter

Daily alerts


You're not following any movies.

These are the movies you’re currently following.

    Update settings