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Kemper Art Museum - Washington University in St. Louis | Department of Special Collections, Washington University Libraries

Name: Kemper Art Museum - Washington University in St. Louis
Variant Name: Kemper Art Museum; Gallery of Art
Fuller Form: Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum


Historical Note:

The Washington University Gallery of Art was originally known as the St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts, which was founded in 1881 and was the first art museum west of the Mississippi River.  It was located at 19th and Locust Streets as part of the University’s original downtown campus.  The museum was rededicated in 1906 as the St. Louis Museum of Fine Arts and moved to Forest Park, into the Palace of Arts building, constructed for the 1904 World’s Fair.  Then in 1909 the St. Louis Museum of Fine Arts dissolved as a department of Washington University and became the City Art Museum (now the Saint Louis Art Museum).  The University’s art collection remained on loan to the city until 1960 when the newly constructed Gallery of Art located in Steinberg Hall allowed its return to campus.

The Gallery of Art was renamed the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in 2004 as a result of a donation by the Kemper family of St. Louis and Kansas City in honor of the late Mildred Lane Kemper.  In 2006, the museum moved to its own facility within the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts complex.






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