CineMainiacs, an independent group of film fans collaborating with the Colonial Theatre to bring independent, foreign and documentary films to Belfast, will host “The Art Of The Steal: The Untold Story of The Barnes Collection” at the cinema, 163 High St.

The 2009 documentary will be shown as a Saturday late show May 1, a Sunday matinee May 2 and Thursday evening early show May 6.

“The Art Of The Steal,” directed by Don Argott, is a passionate documentary about one of the art world’s most fascinating controversies — the struggle for control of a remarkable private collection of paintings owned by Philadelphia’s Barnes Foundation. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was selected for the New York Film Festival. It is being screened this spring as one of the first titles from Sundance Selects.

The celebrated Barnes Foundation houses a private collection in suburban Philadelphia filled with European masterworks, African sculptures, Asian prints, American Indian ceramics and more, as well as a farmhouse furnished with decorative arts with a surrounding 12-acre arboretum filled with rare flora from around the globe.

Dr. Albert C. Barnes rose from a working class background to collect a treasure trove of post-Impressionist and early Modernist paintings by Cézanne, Picasso, Renoir, Degas, Manet, Monet and Van Gogh. His foundation’s collection, considered priceless by some, has been valued at more than $25 billion. In his will, Barnes, who died in 1951, stipulated that the collection was to remain in Lower Merion, a suburb of Philadelphia. The cultural elite he distained, however, would like to see it moved to the City of Brotherly Love.

More showings may be added. For specific show times and links to the film’s trailer, visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to