Art: How To Start a Museum

Three U.S. collections go public, with mixed results

If American museums had to subsist on Government money like the Louvre or the National Gallery in London, all would shrink, and many of the best would never have got started. Names like Whitney, Guggenheim, Phillips, Freer and Frick attest to the role played by the private collector in creating the public institution. Today more than ever the one-person museum, named for the man or woman who assembled it and put it in its own building, is a ruling fantasy of the ambitious collector. Why settle for your name on a plaque in the Met when for a few extra million...

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