Name: Art Museum
Address: In Forest Park
Architectural Firm/Architect: Cass Gilbert
Alterations: New wing and auditorium - 1963 - extensive Renovation and additions - 1976-78
Designation: City Landmark
The Art Museum is a successor to the St. Louis Museum of Fine Arts, which was founded in 1879 as a department of Washington University. Formerly located at 19th and Locust Streets, it occupied its present home in Forest Park in 1906. The structure was designed to be the only permanent exhibit building at the 1904 World´s Fair, because of insurance requirements for its valuable displays. Its classic Corinthian style was said to have been inspired by the Baths of Caracalla in ancient Rome.
The building was erected by the Louisiana Purchase Exposition Company. The agreement called for transfer of title to the City following the fair, in return for the use of the western half of Forest Park as part of the fairgrounds.
In 1907, the Museum became a municipal institution after approval by the city electorate of a tax levy for its support, making it the first art museum to be publicly maintained. It has since been developed into one of the foremost collections of fine arts in America. Since 1971 it has been under the control of the metropolitan Zoo-Museum Tax District, which also includes the Zoo, the Science Center, and the Missouri Botanical Garden.
site was made possible by: the City of St. Louis Planning and Urban Design Agency and