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Celebrating a Milestone: 75 Years of the National Gallery of Art and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation

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Elizabeth Walmsley, painting conservator, National Gallery of Art, and Steve Wilcox, senior conservator of frames, National Gallery of Art. When the National Gallery of Art opened its doors in March 1941, the original Andrew W. Mellon gift was augmented by a collection of Italian art donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Kress was the first to offer a donation in response to Andrew Mellon's call for contributions for the new national art museum. For the Gallery's opening, Kress gave almost 400 paintings and sculptures. Ultimately, the foundation gave the Gallery a total of over 700 paintings and sculptures, in addition to over 1,300 small bronzes, medals, and plaquettes. In 2010, the foundation awarded the Gallery a grant to conduct provenance research on the entire Kress collection of paintings, distributed nationwide to regional museums and study collections in university-affiliated institutions. In this paired lecture by Elizabeth Walmsley and Steve Wilcox recorded on May 23, 2016, discussion spans the history and role of the restoration of paintings before their purchase by Kress to the early formation of his collection. For paintings that became part of the Kress “giveaway,” antique frames were acquired and new frames made for the enhancement and protection of works. This program celebrates the 75-year relationship of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the National Gallery of Art, the enduring legacy of the Kress gifts nationwide, and recent research into the Kress Collection. This program is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Project.

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Melissa Beck Lemke, image specialist for Italian art, National Gallery of Art. When the National Gallery of Art opened its doors in March 1941, the original Andrew W. Mellon gift was augmented by a collection of Italian art donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Kress was the first to offer a donation in response to Andrew Mellon's call for contributions for the new national art museum. For the Gallery's opening, Kress gave almost 400 paintings and sculptures. Ultimately, the foundation gave the Gallery a total of over 700 paintings and sculptures, in addition to over 1,300 small bronzes, medals, and plaquettes. In 2010, the foundation awarded the Gallery a grant to conduct provenance research on the entire Kress collection of paintings, distributed nationwide to regional museums and study collections in university-affiliated institutions. In this lecture recorded on May 23, 2016, Melissa Beck Lemke reveals the history of Kress collection objects through documents, lantern slides, negatives, and photographs preserved in the Gallery’s department of image collections. The images were made throughout the 20th century and illustrate Kress’s collecting practices, as well as cleanings, restorations, and display of the individual objects. This program celebrates the 75-year relationship of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the National Gallery of Art, the enduring legacy of the Kress gifts nationwide, and recent research into the Kress Collection. This program is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Project.

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Melissa Beck Lemke, image specialist for Italian art, National Gallery of Art. When the National Gallery of Art opened its doors in March 1941, the original Andrew W. Mellon gift was augmented by a collection of Italian art donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Kress was the first to offer a donation in response to Andrew Mellon's call for contributions for the new national art museum. For the Gallery's opening, Kress gave almost 400 paintings and sculptures. Ultimately, the foundation gave the Gallery a total of over 700 paintings and sculptures, in addition to over 1,300 small bronzes, medals, and plaquettes. In 2010, the foundation awarded the Gallery a grant to conduct provenance research on the entire Kress collection of paintings, distributed nationwide to regional museums and study collections in university-affiliated institutions. In this lecture recorded on May 23, 2016, Melissa Beck Lemke reveals the history of Kress collection objects through documents, lantern slides, negatives, and photographs preserved in the Gallery’s department of image collections. The images were made throughout the 20th century and illustrate Kress’s collecting practices, as well as cleanings, restorations, and display of the individual objects. This program celebrates the 75-year relationship of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the National Gallery of Art, the enduring legacy of the Kress gifts nationwide, and recent research into the Kress Collection. This program is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Project.

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Nancy H. Yeide, head, department of curatorial records, National Gallery of Art. When the National Gallery of Art opened its doors in March 1941, the original Andrew W. Mellon gift was augmented by a collection of Italian art donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Kress was the first to offer a donation in response to Andrew Mellon's call for contributions for the new national art museum. For the Gallery's opening, Kress gave almost 400 paintings and sculptures. Ultimately, the foundation gave the Gallery a total of over 700 paintings and sculptures, in addition to over 1,300 small bronzes, medals, and plaquettes. In 2010, the foundation awarded the Gallery a grant to conduct provenance research on the entire Kress collection of paintings, distributed nationwide to regional museums and study collections in university-affiliated institutions. In this lecture recorded on May 23, 2016, Nancy Yeide shares discoveries that include both new information about the histories of specific paintings and ways to look at the collection as a whole. This program celebrates the 75-year relationship of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the National Gallery of Art, the enduring legacy of the Kress gifts nationwide, and recent research into the Kress Collection. This program is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Project.

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Nancy H. Yeide, head, department of curatorial records, National Gallery of Art. When the National Gallery of Art opened its doors in March 1941, the original Andrew W. Mellon gift was augmented by a collection of Italian art donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Kress was the first to offer a donation in response to Andrew Mellon's call for contributions for the new national art museum. For the Gallery's opening, Kress gave almost 400 paintings and sculptures. Ultimately, the foundation gave the Gallery a total of over 700 paintings and sculptures, in addition to over 1,300 small bronzes, medals, and plaquettes. In 2010, the foundation awarded the Gallery a grant to conduct provenance research on the entire Kress collection of paintings, distributed nationwide to regional museums and study collections in university-affiliated institutions. In this lecture recorded on May 23, 2016, Nancy Yeide shares discoveries that include both new information about the histories of specific paintings and ways to look at the collection as a whole. This program celebrates the 75-year relationship of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the National Gallery of Art, the enduring legacy of the Kress gifts nationwide, and recent research into the Kress Collection. This program is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Project.

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Max Koss, Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Fellow, David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art and University of Chicago. When the National Gallery of Art opened its doors in March 1941, the original Andrew W. Mellon gift was augmented by a collection of Italian art donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Kress was the first to offer a donation in response to Andrew Mellon's call for contributions for the new national art museum. Ultimately, the foundation gave the Gallery a total of over 700 paintings and sculptures, in addition to over 1,300 small bronzes, medals, and plaquettes. In 2010, the foundation awarded the Gallery a grant to conduct provenance research on the entire Kress collection of paintings, distributed nationwide to regional museums and study collections in university-affiliated institutions. In this lecture recorded on May 23, 2016, Max Koss explains that the Kress “giveaway” included 22 works donated to the University of Chicago, which had no significant collection of Western art, much less a museum to house it. Edward A. Maser, professor of art history and founding director of the David and Alfred Smart Museum, secured the gift and used the boost it provided to build an exemplary teaching institution. This program is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Project.

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Max Koss, Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Fellow, David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art and University of Chicago. When the National Gallery of Art opened its doors in March 1941, the original Andrew W. Mellon gift was augmented by a collection of Italian art donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Kress was the first to offer a donation in response to Andrew Mellon's call for contributions for the new national art museum. Ultimately, the foundation gave the Gallery a total of over 700 paintings and sculptures, in addition to over 1,300 small bronzes, medals, and plaquettes. In 2010, the foundation awarded the Gallery a grant to conduct provenance research on the entire Kress collection of paintings, distributed nationwide to regional museums and study collections in university-affiliated institutions. In this lecture recorded on May 23, 2016, Max Koss explains that the Kress “giveaway” included 22 works donated to the University of Chicago, which had no significant collection of Western art, much less a museum to house it. Edward A. Maser, professor of art history and founding director of the David and Alfred Smart Museum, secured the gift and used the boost it provided to build an exemplary teaching institution. This program is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Project.

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Chiyo Ishikawa, Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art and curator of European painting and sculpture, Seattle Art Museum. When the National Gallery of Art opened its doors in March 1941, the original Andrew W. Mellon gift was augmented by a collection of Italian art donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Kress was the first to offer a donation in response to Andrew Mellon's call for contributions for the new national art museum. For the Gallery's opening, Kress gave almost 400 paintings and sculptures. Ultimately, the foundation gave the Gallery a total of over 700 paintings and sculptures, in addition to over 1,300 small bronzes, medals, and plaquettes. In 2010, the foundation awarded the Gallery a grant to conduct provenance research on the entire Kress collection of paintings, distributed nationwide to regional museums and study collections in university-affiliated institutions. In this lecture recorded on May 23, 2016, Chiyo Ishikawa shares how the Seattle Art Museum was a recipient of the Kress “giveaway.” Seattle’s position on the Pacific Rim made the Seattle Art Museum a natural home for Asian art, but the great European tradition was not represented. This changed thanks to the Kress gift, but the process was rocky and the collection was almost withdrawn before it became the foundation of a growing European collection. This program is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Project.

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Chiyo Ishikawa, Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art and curator of European painting and sculpture, Seattle Art Museum. When the National Gallery of Art opened its doors in March 1941, the original Andrew W. Mellon gift was augmented by a collection of Italian art donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Kress was the first to offer a donation in response to Andrew Mellon's call for contributions for the new national art museum. For the Gallery's opening, Kress gave almost 400 paintings and sculptures. Ultimately, the foundation gave the Gallery a total of over 700 paintings and sculptures, in addition to over 1,300 small bronzes, medals, and plaquettes. In 2010, the foundation awarded the Gallery a grant to conduct provenance research on the entire Kress collection of paintings, distributed nationwide to regional museums and study collections in university-affiliated institutions. In this lecture recorded on May 23, 2016, Chiyo Ishikawa shares how the Seattle Art Museum was a recipient of the Kress “giveaway.” Seattle’s position on the Pacific Rim made the Seattle Art Museum a natural home for Asian art, but the great European tradition was not represented. This changed thanks to the Kress gift, but the process was rocky and the collection was almost withdrawn before it became the foundation of a growing European collection. This program is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Project.

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Max Marmor, president, Samuel H. Kress Foundation. When the National Gallery of Art opened its doors in March 1941, the original Andrew W. Mellon gift was augmented by a collection of Italian art donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Kress was the first to offer a donation in response to Andrew Mellon's call for contributions for the new national art museum. For the Gallery's opening, Kress gave almost 400 paintings and sculptures. Ultimately, the foundation gave the Gallery a total of over 700 paintings and sculptures, in addition to over 1,300 small bronzes, medals, and plaquettes. In 2010, the foundation awarded the Gallery a grant to conduct provenance research on the entire Kress collection of paintings, distributed nationwide to regional museums and study collections in university-affiliated institutions. Discoveries included both new information about the histories of specific paintings and ways to look at the collection as a whole. Max Marmor, president of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation since 2007, opens this program held on May 23, 2016 to celebrate the 75-year relationship of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the National Gallery of Art, the enduring legacy of the Kress gifts nationwide, and recent research into the Kress Collection. Marmor also offers brief remarks on the foundation’s history. This program is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Project.

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Max Marmor, president, Samuel H. Kress Foundation. When the National Gallery of Art opened its doors in March 1941, the original Andrew W. Mellon gift was augmented by a collection of Italian art donated by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Kress was the first to offer a donation in response to Andrew Mellon's call for contributions for the new national art museum. For the Gallery's opening, Kress gave almost 400 paintings and sculptures. Ultimately, the foundation gave the Gallery a total of over 700 paintings and sculptures, in addition to over 1,300 small bronzes, medals, and plaquettes. In 2010, the foundation awarded the Gallery a grant to conduct provenance research on the entire Kress collection of paintings, distributed nationwide to regional museums and study collections in university-affiliated institutions. Discoveries included both new information about the histories of specific paintings and ways to look at the collection as a whole. Max Marmor, president of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation since 2007, opens this program held on May 23, 2016 to celebrate the 75-year relationship of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the National Gallery of Art, the enduring legacy of the Kress gifts nationwide, and recent research into the Kress Collection. Marmor also offers brief remarks on the foundation’s history. This program is supported by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Project.