The Kreeger Museum – Washington, D.C. - Atlas Obscura

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The Kreeger Museum

The legacy of a wealthy executive and his wife, this little-known art museum features works by Picasso, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, and more. 

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David Lloyd Kreeger was a highly successful businessman who served as President, Chairman, and CEO of Geico. He worked for the company from 1948 to 1974, and amassed a fortune estimated to be worth $50-$75 million. His largess facilitated his philanthropic pursuits as a dedicated patron of the arts. He and his wife Carmen married in 1938 and in 1952 they became deeply immersed in the collecting of art, including high-value paintings, sculptures, and other artifacts. In the early 60s, they commissioned famed architect Philip Johnson to build a beautiful mansion between Glover Park and Palisades, along Foxhall Road. They moved into the house in 1967.

The couple would go on to assemble one of the most impressive private art collections in Washington, D.C. At the same time, David Kreeger was expanding his footprint across the city’s art community. He helped to build the Kreeger Theater at Arena Stage, the Kreeger Auditorium at the Corcoran Gallery of Art (where he was Chairman), and the Kreeger Music Building at American University. He also served as President of the National Symphony Orchestra.

Kreeger was also a violin enthusiast. His collection included a Stradivarius that he would sometimes play for visitors to his home, such as Leonard Bernstein and cellist Pablo Casals. Kreeger died in November 1990. His widow Carmen moved out two years later in 1992. Two years after that, she directed the transformation of her former residence into a museum.

She continued working as a trustee of the museum and in various capacities with other cultural institutions, and was an active member of the Garden Club of Washington until her death in March 2003.

Know Before You Go

The Kreeger Museum has a suggested donation of $10. The docents are friendly and knowledgeable, and it's really neat to be able to walk right up to the various masterworks in an environment that still feels somewhat like a home.

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April 19, 2023

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