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So What Are The 50 Best “Galleries” In the World?

Thanks to Yale’s Center for British Art, which is trumpeting its position, we all get to see which art museums around the world the Times of London thinks outshine all the others.

British-ArtOn May 4, it published the world’s greatest 50 galleries (by which it means art museums) and on May 11 the world’s 50 best museums (by which it means those not about art exclusively). Both lists are behind the Times’s pay wall. But the Yale Center (at right), which won the No. 15 slot on the first roster — incredulously beating out the Tate Modern, the Vatican Museums, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Pompidou Centre, among others — wants people to know. So it has posted the list here.

These lists are meant to be provocative: Is the Prado really better than the Louvre or the Metropolitan Museum? Is MoMA better than the Met (please!)? But I have little problem with the top  14. They’re the best, if not necessarily in the order I would place them. How YCBA managed to beat out those listed above, and many more high-quality museums, was surely meant to start arguments.

The list is supposed to be global, but it’s quite Euro-centric, and the U.S. gets short shrift. No Art Institute of Chicago, no MFA, no Philadelphia Art Museum. Yet there is — get this — the Museum of Bad Art in Boston, there at No. 50. And the Whitney is there, too — I like the Whitney, but over these others, not.

I use these lists for another purpose. I made sure I get to as many as possible. As of now, I have seen just 35 of the 50. I’d better get a move on.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Yale University



  1. MoMA before the Metropolitan? I don’t think so. Didn’t read any further.

  2. Sydney P says:

    The newspaper is published by Rupert Murdoch. Any further questions?

  3. The list put me into high dudgeon. The only Massachusetts gallery was the Museum of Bad Art which has to be payback for the American Revolution. No Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Mass Museum of COntemporary Art in North Adams or the Clark Art Museum in Williamstown? They don’t know the state like I do.

  4. Paula Forrest says:

    This list is so silly — not even worth talking about it!

  5. Thanks for the list. It was very helpful to me. Your site is very informative and I look forward to all your posts.

    Keep up the great work Judith!

    Daniel Teoli Jr

  6. James Russell says:

    Thanks for noting this. The link is dead though. I found it here:

    I’m bummed my hometown museums — the Amon Carter, Kimbell, and The Modern — didn’t make it.

  7. This is completely biased. Yale better than the centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. Does it have 100.000 paintings? Pompidou does and it is the largest contemporary art collection in Europe. Probably over 30 Picasso’s and 40 Georges Braque’s. Typical misinformation to make something look better than it is, or simply incorrect information.

  8. Better than the Louvre c’mon who is smoking what here! where is Yale’s Leonardo collection? How many Rembrandt’s, Van Eyk, Rubens, etc etc this is so ridiculous it’s as if the BigMac was a 3 star Michelin.

  9. Take a look at the Museums on this list…No Yale to be seen…

  10. The beauty of art is that it can be quantified. There can be no definite list. If one truly loves art they should go to as many diverse galleries and museums as possible.

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