Samuel H. Kress


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(b Cherryville, Pa., 23 July 1863; d New York, 22 Sept. 1955).

American businessman, art collector, and philanthropist. He became immensely wealthy from his chain of stores and in 1929 he established the Samuel H. Kress Foundation ‘to promote the moral, physical and mental welfare of the human race’. His charitable work included contributions to medical research and restoring historic buildings in Europe after the Second World War, but he is best known for donations of works of art to American museums. Above all, his gift of 375 paintings and eighteen sculptures to the newly formed National Gallery of Art, Washington, in 1939 (together with subsequent donations) formed one of the cornerstones of the collection. Kress was a friend of Bernard Berenson and his main field of interest was Italian Renaissance painting.

Subjects: Art.

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