Fabulous Private Art Museums

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/31661906@N05/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Tetsuhiro Kikuchi</a>

the crowds at these privately owned collections in Venice, Basel, Napa and

ticked off the Tate Modern, lingered in the Louvre and marveled at the Met. But
now you’re in the mood for an out-of-the-ordinary museum experience far from
the madding crowds. What’s an art aficionado to do? Simple: Skip the marquee
museums—with their long lines and dawdling tour groups—and seek out some of the
world’s most fabulous privately owned art museums.

There are such gem-like collections in every corner of
the globe. Some are hiding in plain sight, in well-known capital cities, while
others are sequestered away in remote settings that require a sense of
adventure—or, at least, a reliable GPS—to find. And some, like pop star George
Michael’s Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas, are the culmination of a
collector’s particular obsession (in this case, contemporary British art),
while others, like the famed Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, span a range of
eras and genres. Places like the Salvador Dalí Museum in the Surrealist
master’s hometown of Figueres, Spain, offer a comprehensive paean to a single

Along with the chance to appreciate world-class art
collections, private museums also afford visitors the rare opportunity to take
a peek into the lives and passions of some of the world’s wealthiest and most
powerful people. Several of the museums on our list are the actual former homes
of their patrons (and who doesn’t love poking around in someone else’s house,
especially when their taste is as exquisite as Peggy Guggenheim’s?).

Best of all, since many private museums are personal
projects rather than crowd-pleasers, you’ll likely get to explore them in
relative quiet. A whirlwind tour can feel like a private art-appreciation