Rogues Gallery

Rogues’ Gallery

The Secret Story of the Lust, Lies, Greed, and Betrayals that Made the Metropolitan Museum of Art

"A blockbuster exhibition of human achievement and flaws."New York Times Book Review

"Explosive."Vanity Fair

"Gross demonstrates he knows his stuff. It's a terrific tale... gossipy, color-rich, fact-packed... What Gross reveals is stuff that more people should know."USA Today

"Tantalizing... irresistable... one of the year's most entertaining books."The Daily Beast

"Yummy."New York Daily News

"Riveting and accurate. My God! The back-stabbing and Machiavellian conspiracies! I had no idea. I learned a lot."Tom Hoving

"Michael Gross has proven once again that he is a premier chronicler of the rich. Rogues' Gallery is an insightful, entertaining look at a great institution-with all its flaws and all its greatness."Gay Talese

"The author clearly relishes dishing the dirt, but he also offers a supremely detailed history of the museum...Gross's portrait of Met politics is sharp and well-constructed. A deft rendering of the down-and-dirty politics of the art world."Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2009

"Sprawling histor... Behind-the-scenes dirt and an intriguing look at the symbiosis of culture and cash."Publishers Weekly, March 30, 2009

Now in a new, updated paperback edition, Rogues’ Gallery is the first independent, unauthorized look at the epic saga of the nation’s greatest museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and an endlessly entertaining follow-up to Michael Gross’ bestselling social history 740 Park. Gross pulls back the shades of secrecy that have long shrouded the upper class’s cultural and philanthropic ambitions and maneuvers — and paints a revealing portrait of a previously hidden face of American wealth and power, a rich, satisfying, alternately hilarious and horrifying look at America’s upper class, and what is perhaps its greatest creation. Includes a new afterword by the author, updating the story and telling the startling story of the book itself.

$16.99 * ISBN: 978-07679-2489-4 * Media Contact: Dyana Messina at Random House (212) 572-2098 or dmessina (at) randomhouse (dot) com * If you’d like Michael Gross to speak to your group contact: Authors Unlimited (212) 481-8484

October 3rd, 2013

The new old condo


The Marquand on Madison Avenue is the subject of my latest Unreal Estate column in Avenue magazine. Built on the site of the long-since-demolished mansion of Henry Marquand, second president of the Metropolitan Museum, the current Marquand, erected before World War I, has been reimagined for a new generation of plutocrats.

August 22nd, 2013

Anthony Marshall wins parole


The New York Times has just reported that Anthony Marshall, only child of the late Brooke Astor (pictured), has been paroled for medical reasons after serving six months of his sentence of one-to-three years for looting his mother’s fortune before her death. Gripepad has noted under-reported aspects of the Brooke Astor story, some of which was detailed in Rogues’ Gallery, my book on the money behind the Metropolitan Museum, and the complex mores of those who created and sustain it–and drove the effort to put Marshall behind bars. You can read some of that commentary here, here, here, and here. With Marshall, 89, suffering from Parkinson’s disease and congestive heart failure, perhaps he’ll now be spared further humiliation and opprobrium atop his disgrace, but somehow I doubt it. ADDENDA: A lawyer friend made this comment on my Facebook page: “Whatever one may think of Marshall, a civil recovery against him would have sufficed. It’s hard to conceive of a larceny case when the thief is acting under a general power of attorney specifically authorizing self-dealing, as Marshall was. It should not have been a criminal case. And by the way, it wasn’t the sainted Mrs. Astor’s money either; she inherited it.”

July 16th, 2013

Message in a cyber-bottle: Rogues’ Gallery reviewed.


Four years post-publication, Rogues’ Gallery endures and has just been reviewed in The Epoch Times. James Grundvig says the book is “a tour-de-force” full of “dead-on observations” that “brings [to] life an unseen dimension of New York City in the show and lore of high society.”

July 5th, 2013

House of Outrageous Fortune: Now available for pre-orders


House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address is now available for pre-orders on Amazon by clicking here. Publication date is March 11, 2014. I’ll post a bn.com link as soon as it, too, becomes available.

June 5th, 2013

Rogues’ Gallery: Still censored after all these years

Ada Louise Huxtable, the late, great architecture critic who died in January, was remembered yesterday at a memorial tribute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an institution she both praised and criticized. So on the way in, I visited the museum’s store to see if by some miracle, Rogues’ Gallery–my history of the museum’s founders, backers, and ruling elite, which was banned by the museum on publication in 2009–was finally available there. “We’re not allowed to carry it,” a clerk told me. Then the clerk grinned. “But I have a copy.”

May 11th, 2013

How do you really feel, Gwyneth?


Did someone say, how was your weekend? Well, busy. First we were unwillingly evacuated from our home. So I didn’t have time to post about NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon listing his apartment at 15 Central Park West, subject of my just-completed next book, or about France selling the home of its UN ambassador at 740 Park, subject of an earlier real estate opus. Then, Le Monde published a story on the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute and its ball quoting my Rogues’ Gallery, and Gwyneth Paltrow, one of the select invited guests, opined that, “It sucked.” And finally, my exile on 57th Street ended with a new boom and thankfully, no bang. Developer Extell even apologized, sort of, and grudgingly, for treating One57′s neighbors like, well, guests at the Costume Institute gala. So how was it? Well, it still sucked to get kicked out of my home again, even if only for a day. But tomorrow is another day, even if it’s still this weekend.

April 28th, 2013

Mo’ money, mo’ problems for Metropolitan Museum


In a followup to its revelation yesterday that the Metropolitan Museum of Art has charged admission for forty-plus years in violation of its lease, reporters Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein offer up Art of the $teal , a Sunday feature stuffed with more examples of the museum administration’s contempt for the public that owns its buildings, the land they sit on, and the art within. Gripepad supports the Met’s desire to collect admission, but finds its devotion to the public, to its own history and to the truth, in the words of its chief dissembler, a matter of interpretation.

April 27th, 2013

Artful dodging at the Metropolitan Museum


The New York Post filed a Freedom of Information Act request to gain access to the long-hidden agreement that–Metropolitan Museum of Art officials have always alleged, most recently in statement by museum director Thomas Campbell–gave them the right to charge admission. But reporter Julia Marsh‘s story today reveals that no such agreement exists. The link above does not include the response to the Post’s charges from Museum spokesman Harold Holzer that appears in the iPad version of the paper today. He calls the report “a matter of interpertation.” This from the same flack who called Rogues’ Gallery “highly misleading,” yet failed to point out a single error in its pages. Artful!

April 10th, 2013

Applauding Lauder’s words as well as his deed


Leonard Lauder‘s magnificent gift of a collection of Cubist masterpieces to the Metropolitan Museum of Art got front page treatment in the Times this morning. But the most interesting tid-bit was contained in the New York Post’s piece on the donation (which includes the Picasso at right). It quotes Lauder saying “This is a gift to the people who live and work in New York and those from around the world who come to visit our great art institutions.” That recognition–that the museum’s art is held in trust for the people of New York–is far too often forgotten or ignored by those who care more for the tender sensibilities of the Met’s ruling elite than they do for the rest of us. So thanks for the gift, Leonard. I’m just one New Yorker, but I know I’m not alone in my appreciation of your extraordinary generosity.

March 25th, 2013

Met Museum flak calls critics a “nuisance,” AP listens anyway


Institutions are run by individuals who sometimes fail to live up to what’s best about them. In an AP story making the rounds today about the latest class-action lawsuit accusing the leaders of the august Metropolitan Museum of Art of cowing and gouging visitors and violating the terms of its lease, MMA spokesman Harold Holzer (referred to as the Met’s Minister of Propaganda by one rogue curator) shows its administration’s thin skin when faced with insufficient reverence, calling the suit an “insupportable nuisance.” History repeats itself. Holzer criticized Rogues’ Gallery, too, calling it “highly misleading,” but failed to point out a single error. Now, he claims the museum’s policy of Pay What You Wish But You Must Pay Something has had city approval for decades, but has yet to support his claim with any proof of that approval. Gripepad hears FOIA requests have been made to the city, asking such proof be produced. The request may be in vain, though. A FOIA request failed to produce any records explaining what happened when future museum vice-chairman Annette de la Renta (then Anne France Mannheimer) and her mother Jane, who’d soon become both Mrs. Charles Engelhard (pictured) and an MMA trustee, were detained at U.S. immigration as “aliens held for special inquiry” on their arrival here. Information isn’t always free–at least not when it’s about the powerful. But you can read all about the origins of both pay-what-you-wish and the Mannheimer/Engelhard women in Rogues’ Gallery. Buy it here.