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Well-Cultured Pads Steps From America's Favorite Museums

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Fine art is certainly a desirable addition to any home, but what if you're a buyer who's downright obsessed with the works of Matisse or Picasso or Pollack, but don't quite have the cash lying around to purchase one of their canvases? Buy a home next door to the museums that house their masterworks instead. Particularly deep-pocket connoisseurs might consider this 14-room co-op across Fifth Avenue from NYC's Metropolitan Museum of Art. But the buyer might have to sell a storied masterpiece just to afford it. While other apartments at 998 Fifth Avenue have taken recent price-chops, this one is holding strong at a stratospheric $34M. Come to think of it, maybe a lithograph would do the trick after all.

? Out in Los Angeles, the Getty Museum reigns supreme in the cultural landscape, at least in part thanks to its travertine-clad, Richard Meier-designed masterwork of a building. While the museum stands alone along a ridge, there's plenty of nearby housing stock, like this condominium that echos the blocky architecture of Meier's design. Located just downhill from the museum, a two-bed, two-bath unit is asking $550K.

? Close to the National Mall and just a block from the National Museum, this one-bedroom corner condo at 601 Pennsylvania Avenue is something of a deal. For $429K, the buyer gets a grand entryway, 789 square feet, and a load of windows, plus one of the best locations in D.C. for a museum hound.

? The Barnes Foundation, located outside of Philadelphia in Lower Marion, Penn., might not have the most recognizable name, but it does boast one of the most impressive collections in the United States, worth an estimated $25B. Though it is controversially set to be relocated to downtown Philly in 2012, for now the collection sits in a quiet suburb. Just across the street lies this stone colonial, with four bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, and a renovated interior, currently priced at $520K.

? Back in NYC, those with more modern sensibilities might want to find a place in the Museum Tower on 53rd Street, aptly named, considering it rises just next door to the Museum of Modern Art. This 1,200-square-foot two bedroom could use a touch of modern art itself, what with all those wacky patterns messing up the joint. For now, with wallpaper included, it's asking $2.35M.
· 998 Fifth Avenue [Sotheby's]
· The Gold Coast's Most PriceChopped Building: 998 Fifth [Curbed NY]
· 171 North Church Lane [Redfin]
· 601 Pennsylvania Ave [Sotheby's]
· 165 Union Ave [Zillow]
· 15 West 53rd Street [BHS]