Kreeger Museum

Washington DC, District of Columbia (DC)

The Kreeger Museum is a home turned art gallery in Washington D.C.

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- Art Around

The Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C.

Between 1967 and 1990, the Kreeger Museum in Washington D.C., was the home of David Lloyd Kreeger and Carmen Kreeger before transitioning into a public museum on June 1, 1994. Designed in 1963 by architect Philip Johnson in collaboration with Richard Foster, the museum represents the Kreegers' love for music, architecture, and art in general. It represents this love by being packed full of their collections, which were acquired over a span of three decades from 1952 to 1988.

Visitors to the Kreeger Museum can see an array of 19th and 20th-century paintings and sculptures, alongside works by prominent Washington artists and exemplary pieces of traditional African and Asian art. Moreover, the museum's sculpture-filled gardens, sprawling across 5.5 acres, offer a sanctuary in the middle of the busy city.

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- Payton Chung

A Home Filled With Art

David Lloyd Kreeger, a highly successful businessman known for his tenure as President, Chairman, and CEO of Geico, along with his wife Carmen, embarked on a remarkable journey in the late 1950s to build an extraordinary collection of modern art.

Over the years they made acquisitions of works by renowned artists such as Monet, Picasso, Braque, Stella, Mitchell, and Frankenthaler. However, their collection was not limited to established masters; it also showcased the works of local Washington artists and featured notable examples of African and Asian art.

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- Thad Zajdowicz

Transformation into a Museum

Following David Kreeger's passing in November 1990, Carmen Kreeger undertook the monumental task of transforming their cherished residence into a museum that would inspire other art-lovers in Washington and beyond. Two years later, in 1992, she bid farewell to the house they had called home for decades.

However, her commitment to preserving their legacy remained unwavering. In 1994, the doors of the newly minted Kreeger Museum opened to the public, offering visitors a rare opportunity to experience the couple's remarkable collection firsthand.

Carmen Kreeger continued to be actively involved with the museum until her passing in March 2003. Today, the Kreeger Museum is a testament to the couple's legacy.

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- Mark Andre

Designing the Kreeger Museum

In 1963, David, Carmen and architects Johnson and Foster came together to collaborate on what would become the iconic Kreeger Museum. In creating his masterpiece, Johnson steered away from the typical aesthetics of the surrounding neighbourhood, instead he went for a sophisticated and elegant modernist style.

The dimensions of the museum, both inside and out, adhere to a precise unit of 22 x 22 x 22 feet, a design choice that represents harmony and balance.

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- Bill Herndon

The residence, spanning 24,000 square feet, highlights Johnson's attention to detail by the incorporation of over 900 tons of hand-selected travertine sourced from Italy. Foster, Johnson's partner, personally hand picked each stone so they blended seamlessly. The building’s exterior, inspired by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, was then fortified by 17 concrete domes, enveloped in synthetic rubberised material to form the distinctive roof.

Inside the Great Hall, with its three vaulted domes, is a central feature of the museum and acts as a natural amplification system to optimise acoustics for concerts and events.

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- Amaury Laporte

Other Kreeger Creations

Kreeger's influence extended far beyond his role as a collector. He also established various cultural institutions, including the Kreeger Theater at Arena Stage and the Kreeger Auditorium at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Furthermore, his passion for music led him to serve as President of the National Symphony Orchestra, leaving an indelible mark on the city's musical heritage.

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- Amaury Laporte

Inside the Kreeger Museum

The Kreeger Museum Collection

The Kreeger Museum’s collection, spanning from the 1850s to the present, has masterpieces from various artistic movements and regions of the world.

At the heart of the collection are the Impressionists, with nine Claude Monet paintings among the highlights, alongside works by Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Camille Pissarro.

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- Thad Zajdowicz

European Masters and American Icons

Beyond the Impressionists, the museum has a wealth of 20th-century European artists, including Edvard Munch, Max Beckmann, Jean Dubuffet, Wassily Kandinsky, and Joan Miró.

American artists are also prominently featured, with works by Alexander Calder, Clyfford Still, Frank Stella, and James Rosenquist commanding attention.

Washington artists, including William Christenberry, Gene Davis, Sam Gilliam, and Betsy Stewart, contribute to the rich tapestry of American creativity showcased at the museum.

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- Thad Zajdowicz

Sculpture Collections at the Kreeger Museum

As an extension of the museum's indoor collection, the Sculpture Garden and Sculpture Terrace offer visitors the opportunity to engage with art outside in the natural world.

Sculpture Garden

The Sculpture Garden invites visitors to explore a curated selection of sculptures by contemporary artists alongside outstanding examples of traditional art from West and Central Africa and Asia. Think Rainer Lagemann and Lucien Wercollier but there are also Washington, DC-area artists like Kendall Buster and Carol Brown Goldberg.

Kreeger Museum
- bobistraveling

Sculpture Terrace

Perched atop the museum, the Sculpture Terrace offers panoramic views and a captivating array of sculptures that beckon visitors to embark on a visual journey. Works by iconic sculptors such as Jean Arp, Aristide Maillol, and Isamu Noguchi grace this outdoor gallery.

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- bobistraveling

Reflecting Pool Terrace

The Reflecting Pool Terrace is adorned with John L. Dreyfuss's monumental series, "Inventions," which captivate viewers with their size and innovation. These large-scale sculptures, juxtaposed against the calming backdrop of the reflecting pool, are somewhere on a scale between art and architecture.

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- Amaury Laporte

For more examples of homes that have been transformed into museums such as the Sir John Soane Museum in London or Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge, check out our blog.

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What you need to know

Kreeger Museum
2401 Foxhall Rd NW, Washington, DC 20007
38.921799, -77.089363
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