Elsewhere online
January 09, 2015

Does Patrons' Age Spell Trouble for New Private Museums?

Many of the blockbuster private museums being built by wealthy donors and collectors could face uncertain futures given their patrons' advanced ages and potential gaps in long-term funding and legacy planning, according to an analysis by The Art Newspaper. The driving forces behind major new institutions like the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and the Broad in Los Angeles range in age from mid-60s to early 80s, raising questions about what will happen after their donors' deaths, the newspaper writes.

Eli and Edythe Broad's contemporary-art showcase and Walmart heir Alice Walton's Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art have endowments in the hundreds of millions of dollars, but most of the single-donor museums lack permanent funds or have kept them secret. Problems could also arise if patrons change or slow their collecting or impose posthumous restrictions on their museums' operations.