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Fabulous Private Art Museums

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

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

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

Along with the chance to appreciate world-class artcollections, private museums also afford visitors the rare opportunity to takea peek into the lives and passions of some of the world’s wealthiest and mostpowerful people. Several of the museums on our list are the actual former homesof 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 personalprojects rather than crowd-pleasers, you’ll likely get to explore them inrelative quiet. A whirlwind tour can feel like a private art-appreciationodyssey.

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