Ralph Wellington Noted in The Barnes Foundation Symposium Report 2013On May 19, 2013 by Schnader in Appellate
The Barnes Foundation Symposium Report 2013 noted the work of Ralph G. Wellington, lead counsel for the Barnes Foundation during the hearings when the organization’s trustees petitioned to deviate from the founding indenture in order to relocate the collection to Philadelphia.
“Ralph Wellington said the case was typical of any institution that sought to enshrine its aims in perpetuity. Circumstances, impossible to foresee when a trust was set up, were bound to raise questions about how its legacy provisions could best be respected and implemented. In making the case for moving the collection away from Merion, the Barnes’s lawyers pleaded that Dr. Barnes had given much thought to the future and had considered ways of opening his collection to the public after his death. His aim had been for people to see and understand art in the way he had done. But the Foundation’s Indenture did not adequately provide for these objectives. The Barnes’s counsel sought relief under the doctrine of deviation, which was designed to permit changes to the original conditions of a trust if it could be shown that they were warranted and necessary to preserve the central purpose of the charitable institution. Overcoming objections, the Barnes Foundation made a convincing case that Dr. Barnes’s aims to use his collection as an educational tool, available to all social strata, could only be successfully continued if it was moved to a less circumscribed location, allowing access to more students and visitors.”