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.