logo

QUICK FACTS

  • Founded in 1881, admission to the Museum was originally just 25 cents (a gallon of milk sold for 30 cents in those days.) In 1909, the Museum became free to the public, and it’s been that way ever since.

  • Originally part of the Palace of Fine Arts, the Museum was the only building from the 1904 World’s Fair designed to be a permanent structure.

  • The inscription "Art Still Has Truth; Take Refuge There" on the Museum’s south façade comes from a line in a poem by 19th-century English poet Matthew Arnold. (Memorial Verses)

  • There are over 33,000 objects in the Museum’s collection; over 5,000 different artists and 481 different cultures are represented in the Museum’s collection.

  • The largest object in the collection is the Panorama of the Monumental Grandeur of the Mississippi Valley (348 feet long!)

  • The heaviest object in the collection is Anselm Kiefer’s Breaking of the Vessels (seven tons!)

  • Joseph Pulitzer Jr., publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, purchased his first serious painting in 1936 while a senior at Harvard. Pulitzer’s gifts of art to the Museum began in the late 1940s and continued annually until his death in 1993.

  • Morton D. May was the single largest donor of works of art to the Museum. May ultimately gave to the Museum over 5,100 works of art, nearly 20 percent of the collection. Grandson of one of the founders of the May Department Stores Company, May bought his first paintings by Max Beckmann in 1948. The Museum now holds the world’s largest collection of paintings by Beckmann.

  • Visitors are invited to enjoy the more than 14,000 works spanning six centuries in the collection of prints, drawings, and photographs. This is the largest of the Museum’s collections and includes works by such masters as Rembrandt, Degas, Beckmann, and Picasso.