The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, part of the Washington University in St. Louis, is dedicated to developing and preserving its art collection and staying its legacy of collecting crucial art of the time; offering excellence in art historical education, scholarship, and exhibition; motivating social and intellectual inquiry into the connections between contemporary life and art; and stimulating audiences in the local community, on campus, across the nation, and around the globe.
History and Collection
The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum goes back to the 19th century. Its collection was molded in huge part by acquiring major works by artists of the time, a legacy that lasts today. Now one of the finest university collections in the US, this museum has strong holdings of 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century American and European prints, paintings, sculptures, photographs, and installations.
First located in a neo-Renaissance building in downtown St. Louis, in 1906 the Museum collection was transported to the Palace of Fine Arts in Forest Park, now the Saint Louis Art Museum. It currently remained there until the opening of Steinberg Hall in 1960, which linked Washington University’s visual arts departments with the museum, then named the Washington University Gallery of Art.
In 2004, the museum formally became the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. The present building opened on October 25, 2006. Both Steinberg Hall and the current museum were created by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki.
In 2017, Washington University began one of the most vital capital projects in the recent history of the Danforth Campus: the transformation of the east end. The comprehensive plan includes two changes to the Sam Fox School—the construction of Anabeth and John Weil Hall and the expansion of the Kemper Art Museum—both of which are being designed by architecture firm Kieran Timberlake.