David Lloyd Kreeger (1909-1990) was forty-three when he purchased his first oil painting, Ravens over the Valley of Emek (1948-51), by Mordecai Ardon. Compared with other important collectors whose efforts led to the creation of museums in Washington, Kreeger developed his passion for buying art rather late in his life.
In the years to come, David and Carmen Kreeger would amass more than three hundred works of art (paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures). They would publish three catalogues of their collection and contribute to Washington's fledging Museum of African Art in decisive ways. Their reasons for collecting were quite simply for aesthetic pleasure, the delight that they would find in the visible surface, in the selection and arrangement of color, line, and shape. —Erich Keel, Head of Education, The Kreeger Museum
The Kreeger collection is mainly comprised of works from the 1850s to the present. The Impressionists are represented by nine Claude Monet paintings, as well as works by Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, and Camille Pissarro. From his early work to the end of his life, Pablo Picasso's career, can be traced through his paintings at the Kreeger. Other 20th century European artists include Edvard Munch, Max Beckmann, Jean Dubuffet, Wassily Kandinsky, and Joan Miró.
American artists are introduced by the graceful motion of an Alexander Calder mobile, moving with the breeze above the Kreeger's grand staircase. Visitors can either lose themselves in the infinite space of a painting by Clyfford Still, a dynamic painting by Frank Stella or enjoy the sly Pop humor of James Rosenquist's Bowling Ball Diptych. Washington artists represented include William Christenberry, Gene Davis, Thomas Downing, Sam Gilliam and Betsy Stewart.
The stunning architectural Sculpture Terrace features works by Jean Arp, Aristide Maillol, Jacques Lipchitz, Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, and Francesco Somaini.
The Sculpture Garden, located on the museum's north lawn, features work by Carol Brown Goldberg, Leonardo Nierman, George Rickey, Lucien Wercollier and long-term loans from notable Washington, DC artists Kendall Buster, Martha Jackson-Jarvis, Dalya Luttwak, Wendy Ross and Foon Sham.
The permanent collection also includes outstanding examples of traditional art from west and central Africa and Asia.