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Behind the scenes at the Met

A book due out next year by Michael Gross [1] looks behind the scenes at the Met – in particular, how they made some of their acquisitions & whether they really did believe that they were always acting in good faith. The author tells me that quite a bit of previously unknown information will be revealed in the book.

Perhaps this will offer an interesting antidote to James Cuno’s book, giving the other side of the story of how a universal museum actually operates.

New York Post [2]

September 17, 2008

ONE unwelcome chore for Thomas Campbell, director-elect of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will be the repercussions from “Rogues’ Gallery” by Michael Gross – the exposé Campbell’s predecessor, Philippe de Montebello, failed to stop. Though it’s not due out until spring, it’s already ruffling feathers. Among its revelations is the real reason why the Met returned its Euphronios vase and other looted objects to Italy this year: Italian prosecutors threatened to indict the museum’s emeritus antiquities curator, Dietrich von Bothmer, and put the wheel-chair-bound nonagenarian on trial if the treasures weren’t returned. Just like that, they were.

Publisher’s website [3]

Rogues’ Gallery
The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money that Made the Metropolitan Museum
Written by Michael Gross
Format: Hardcover, 496 pages
On Sale: May 12, 2009
Price: $27.95
ISBN: 978-0-7679-2488-7 (0-7679-2488-6)


The Metropolitan Museum of Art is America’s wealthiest and arguably the world’s greatest art museum—and behind every great institution lies a complex, multifaceted story. Now, Michael Gross gives us the first unauthorized and definitive history of the museum and the juicy details of the lives of the powerful players who made it what it is today. With a colorful cast of characters that includes directors Guy-Philippe Lannes de Montebello, Luigi Palma di Cesnola, and Thomas P. F. Hoving, and a glittering array of supporting players such as John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Annette de la Renta, J. P. Morgan, Brooke Astor, Robert Moses, Diana Vreeland, and Jane Wrightsman, Gross looks at the museum’s rich social history and exposes the secrets behind the upper class’s cultural and philanthropic ambitions. From the trustees to the donors and the curators to the collectors, the startling 138-year tale of the Met and the masterpieces that live inside its walls makes for an astonishing and satisfying read.

About the Author

MICHAEL GROSS is the author of 740 Park, Genuine Authentic, and the New York Times bestselling Model. Currently a contributing editor at Travel & Leisure, he has written for Esquire, Vanity Fair, Town & Country, New York, The New York Times, and countless other publications. He lives in New York City.