Kemper Museum Mourns the Death of its Founder, R. Crosby Kemper, Jr.

. January 5, 2014

The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is deeply saddened at the passing of the Museum’s cofounder R. Crosby Kemper, Jr., 86, on January 2, 2014. He founded the Museum with his wife Mary (Bebe) Stripp Kemper in 1994. Mr. Kemper served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Museum until April 30, 2013, at which time he became Chairman Emeritus.

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Known for his keen insight and passion for the arts, Mr. Kemper saw a need for a modern and contemporary art museum in Kansas City. He worked with the Kansas City Art Institute and other civic leaders and organizations to establish the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and Design. The Museum was named in memory of his grandmother, Charlotte Crosby Kemper, an ardent supporter of the arts.

The Kemper Museum—the first museum in the state of Missouri dedicated to contemporary art—opened to the public to great fanfare on October 2, 1994. In 1995 when the Museum severed its ties with the Kansas City Art Institute, it was placed under the governance of an autonomous nonprofit trust estate, the Kemper Museum Operating Foundation, and Mr. Kemper became Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Under Mr. Kemper’s stewardship, the Kemper Museum established itself as a center for modern and contemporary art. Its permanent collection more than tripled with works of art by artists from around the world. At the core of the Museum’s permanent collection stands the Bebe and Crosby Kemper Collection, numbering more than one thousand works of art by artists, such as Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Morris Louis, Georgia O’Keeffe, Fairfield Porter, Wayne Thiebaud, Andy Warhol, and Andrew Wyeth, among others. More than 250 special exhibitions have been organized, and the Kemper Museum now operates three locations—the original Gunnar Birkerts-designed primary location, Kemper at the Crossroads, and Kemper East. Millions have visited since its opening in 1994.

For more information on Mr. Kemper, please a visit this specially created website www.rcrosbykemperjr.com

Category: Museum News

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