2015 POWER 4A. THE PRIVATE MUSEUMS POWER Issue 2015 - Kreeger Museum in Washington JPG

 

 

 

 

David Lloyd Kreeger was a rare combination of entrepreneur, artist and lover of the arts. His entrepreneurship as top executive at GEICO Insurance, talent as an amateur violinist, and his love for and support of the arts in Washington, DC gained him a Medal of Arts Award from President George H. W. Bush in 1990.

 

In the 1950s, Kreeger and his wife Carmen began their remarkable collection of modern art that dates from the 1850s to the present. As is the case for many avid collectors, their collection outgrew the size of their home. Fortuitously they hired starchitect

Philip Johnson to design a spectacular house for them, divided into three 22’x22’x11’ “cubes”, one as living quarters, one for their art collection, and the third for concerts. The 24,000-sq. ft. building is clad in travertine and sits on a magnificent five-and-a-half-acre ravine property. Huge, two-level outdoor terraces are centered by a reflecting pool, two fountains and strewn with extraordinary sculptures by Noguchi, Henry Moore, Lipchitz, Maillot, and Jean Arp. An inner courtyard boasts a tropical garden.

 

Off the entrance to the light-filled home is a small ante-room filled with autographed photos of the Kreegers with Presidents Kennedy and Carter, Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, Justices W. O. Douglas and Warren Burger among other celebrities. In the Great Hall Kreeger played his Stradivarius violin in chamber ensembles with musicians like Isaac Stern, Itzhak Perlman, Pinchas Zukerman, and Mstislav Rostropovich. Stern said that Kreeger “almost single-handedly transformed Washington, DC into a major cultural center”.

 

The walls of the airy rooms off the hall are covered with art that the Kreegers collected with a shared vision. “I never bought art as an investment, I bought it for love and I was lucky. Art that embodies the creative spirit of man transcends the value of money,” Kreeger said. The works include a 1921 Picasso portrait of Kreeger’s first wife, Olga; a Cezanne, Mondrian, Sisley, Degas, Chagall, Braque, Pissarro, Kandinsky, Miro, Klee, Albers, Still, Stella, and Gene Davis as well as African and Asian pieces. A Calder mobile hangs from the top floor down a spectacular Meshekoff staircase. Twenty bronze frames enclose screens of molten bronze: six rectangles and fourteen parallelograms form the procession of the stairwell like Pollock’s drip paintings in bronze.

 

The Kreeger Museum is sheer pleasure to visit and makes one feel like a special guest in a very special space.

 

2401 Foxhall Road, NW, Washington, DC 20007  

Tel: (202) 337-3050 X 10

www.kreegermuseum.org

Hours: Tuesday – Thursday: 10:30AM and 1:30PM   Reservations required Call: (202) 338- 3552   Friday & Saturday: 10:00AM – 4:00PM

Admission: Adults: $10. Seniors & Students: $7.

 

 

 

 





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