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Ongoing • In Kress II Gallery

The Samuel H. Kress Collection

The Kress Collection at UAMA consists of 64 European artworks, including The Altarpiece from Ciudad Rodrigo, that span the 14th to the early 19th centuries.

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Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, The Countess von Schönfeld with Her Daughter, 1793, Oil on canvas, Gift of Samuel H. Kress Foundation

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Featuring portraits, mythological subjects, and biblical narratives, these pieces represent some of the most prevalent trends in early modern art production and offer visitors the opportunity to see stylistic differences between artists and regions.

The Kress Collection at UAMA consists of 64 European artworks, including The Altarpiece from Ciudad Rodrigo, that span the 14th to the early 19th centuries.

Over the decades, the Kress Collection has attracted the interests of scholars and students in art history, studio art, materials science, optical sciences, and more, underscoring the myriad ways to engage with these works of art. With most of the collection kept on permanent display, visitors can be sure to delight in the artworks every time they visit the Museum.


About Samuel H. Kress

Born in rural Pennsylvania, Samuel H. Kress (1863-1955) built his fortune through his nationwide chain of five and dime stores, the first of which opened in Memphis in 1896. Kress accrued an impressive collection of more than 3,000 European artworks, and – in 1929 – he established his namesake foundation to make the collection accessible to the wider public.

Through his efforts, as well as those of his brother Rush, the Kress Collection was dispersed to 90 institutions in 33 states and celebrated as “The Great Kress Giveaway.” The University of Arizona received a particularly large portion of the collection – a total of 64 works. This, in part, had to do with Rush Kress’ attachments to Tucson and the University of Arizona, of which his wife Virginia was a graduate.

The Kress legacy lives on not only through the public display of artwork but also through the Kress Foundation, which furthers its founder’s vision by supporting museums, libraries, art historians, and conservators through their generous grant and fellowship programs.

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