"Terence Riley, the director of the Miami Art Museum (MAM), said that “patrons and trustees will be at Art Basel to collect for themselves, but as museum supporters, MAM’s collection is never far from their minds”. Purchases by patrons take place more quickly than acquisitions by museums, which are often subject to approval by committee.
As in the US, some European museums—such as François Pinault’s Palazzo Grassi, Charles Saatchi’s gallery and the Portuguese José Berardo’s forthcoming institution in Lisbon—benefit from having a rich collector behind them. There was speculation yesterday that a collector, possibly Christie’s owner François Pinault, has paid $900,000 for Bruce Nauman’s Three Heads Fountain (Three Andrews), 2005, although this was not confirmed by the Donald Young Gallery (E4). German collector Heinz Ackermans, whose collection forms the backbone of the K21 museum in Düsseldorf, purchased a room by artist Gregor Schneider from Cologne gallery Luis Campaña (M8).
But even the largest, state-funded European museums are expressing fears that they are being left behind in the current boom. Most do not enjoy such a rich tradition of philanthropy or such generous tax breaks as US museums, while across Europe governments are squeezing cultural budgets. "