The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art has one of the finest collections of 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century American art in the Midwest region. Through special exhibitions, educational programs, performance events and publications, the Albrecht-Kemper serves as a cultural arts center for Northwest Missouri.
The Museum originated in 1913 with the foundation of the St. Joseph Art League--twelve women who sought to increase public awareness and understanding of the arts.
With the hope of establishing a public art museum in St. Joseph, the League acquired the William Merritt Chase painting A Venetian Balcony. This purchase, made in 1915 with funds raised at performances, teas and a special showing of the painting in a local department store, became the first work in the Museum's collection.
The League opened the Albrecht Gallery in 1966 in the former home of Mr. and Mrs. William Albrecht. At the initiation of a major building expansion in 1991, the Museum became The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, honoring the patronage of Mr. R. Crosby Kemper.
Through the generosity of the Kemper family and foundations, and many other enthusiastic supporters, the Museum's collection has grown to include colonial portraits, a rich holding of American landscape paintings, as well as distinguished examples of American Impressionism.
An important Mary Cassatt pastel, Mother Looking Down Embracing Both of Her Children, is a study for an oil of the same subject now hanging in the White House. Other highlights include urban realist paintings from the 'Ashcan School', Custer's Last Stand by the influential regionalist Thomas Hart Benton, exciting contemporary works by recent American masters and one of the region's most comprehensive holdings of 19th- and 20th-century works on paper.