These Under-the-Radar Museums Around the World Have Mindblowing Collections
The MoMA. Check. Pompidou. Check. Tate and Tate Modern. Check. Check.
You’ve paid your respects to the masterpieces in the world’s most famous museums. Now it's time to plan a visit to smaller museums born from great private collections. The intimate scale and close encounter with exceptional artworks result in the most satisfying visitor experience. You leave the museum with a profound respect not only for the art and artists but also for the personalities behind the collections and their single-minded quest for quality.
Heinz Berggruen fled Nazi Germany only to return more than 50 years later to his birth city with a gift that the Nazis considered “degenerate” art. As one of Picasso’s main dealers, he pronounced himself to be his own best client. His collection contains some of the best examples of Picasso, Klee, and Giacometti.
Stanford University, California, USA
The gift of Hunk and Moo Anderson to Stanford University contains over 100 works of art that rival the quality found at the best modern art museums in the world.
The Frick Collection
New York, New York, USA
You know Henry Clay Frick wasn’t messing around with his collection when the Met, Rijksmuseum, and the National Gallery in Washington, DC are the only institutions that surpass him in the Vermeer count. His aristocratic mansion adorned with Old Masters invites an almost hushed reverence as visitors enter.
Peggy always had better taste than her Uncle Solomon. Being greeted at the entrance of her palazzo by Calder’s "Arc of Petals" and Picasso’s "On the Beach" never ever gets old. The location on the Grand Canal doesn’t hurt either.
Museo de Arte Abstracto Espanol
Do not be put off by the rather remote location of the hanging houses of Cuenca that Fernando Zobel chose to house his collection of Spanish abstract art. The unlikely mix of modern art and medieval surroundings is simply perfect. Why else would MoMA director Alfred Barr describe it as “the most beautiful small museum in the world”.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
This feels more like a visit to a very wealthy and acquisitive aunt’s home rather than a museum. Gardner was not only relentless in collecting the finest examples of Old Master art but also in designing Fenway Court. She controlled it beyond her death by stipulating in her will that it remains as it was when she resided there.
New York, New York, USA
Ronald Lauder’s beautiful tribute to his friend Serge Sabarksy is located in an Upper East Side townhouse elegantly renovated by Anabelle Selldorf. It contains prime examples of Austrian and German art. No visit is complete without having an authentic Viennese meal at Café Sabarsky.
The National Artist is also a voracious collector. This museum with its sweeping views of mountain ranges and the West Philippine sea is home not only to Bencab’s own works, but also Philippine contemporary art and Cordillera tribal art.