The Power of Philanthropy

by on December 27, 2006 at 5:25 am in The Arts | Permalink

The British Museum is one of the world’s premier arts institutions.  But last year it spent less than a million pounds on new acquisitions.  Compare this to the more than 55 million pounds spent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, or the more than 20 million pounds spent by MOMA.  The Met figure is inflated above normal levels because of the purchase of an expensive Duccio painting but the comparison remains.  The Louvre spent 16.8 million pounds in the same year, coming in third internationally.  The Getty was fourth and the Rijksmuseum fifth.

That is from The Art Newspaper, December 2006, p.25.  Here is a good article on a Frenchman who has realized the power of decentralized philanthropy.  Here is a good article on NYU’s obsession with philanthropy.

1 Paul N December 27, 2006 at 9:34 am

Does anyone know of papers or resources that describe ROI for major art buyers? I mean long term stuff, like what they purchased in the 50s and 60s.

2 khalid mir December 27, 2006 at 11:49 am

Er…I don’t think the British Museum is an “art institution”. The National Gallery is more like the Metro.

3 khalid mir December 27, 2006 at 3:00 pm

Tyler, it would also be nice to know what you’re trying to say.
Are you making a comaprison between the U.S. and the U.K. and if so:
1. why only figures for this year, and no other?
2. should the figures be in terms of proportion of GDP?
3. Even if one were to accept that in certain matters Americans
are more philanthropic might it not be the case their sense of altruism
is well, let’s be polite, and say less than generous (in particular, with reference
to the welfare state and attitudes to the other , “blacks”.
4. Anyway, I’m not sure what the relationship is between spending and the actual
quality of the art. Perhaps the key thing, as Hannah Arendt once said, is that art transcends
the market and the values it stands for.
5. On a positive note, the American Empire might be able to accumulate the same type of collection
that the British one managed 🙂

4 cristy December 6, 2009 at 9:59 am

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