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Crocker Art Museum

The Crocker Art Museum is the oldest in the Western United States in Sacramento, California. Founded in 1885, the museum holds one of the premier collections of Californian art. The collection includes American works dating from the Gold Rush to the present, European paintings and master drawings, one of the largest international ceramics collections in the U.S., and collections of Asian, African, and Oceanic art. The Crocker Art Museum has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, a high standard for US museums.


Edwin B. Crocker (1818–1875), a wealthy California lawyer and judge, and his wife, Margaret Crocker (1822–1901), began to assemble a significant collection of paintings and drawings during an extended trip to Europe from 1869 to 1871. Upon their return to Sacramento, they set about creating an art gallery in part of their grand home at the corner of Third and O streets. When the gallery was completed, they opened it to the public to fund the Sacramento Library. When it opened with 694 paintings, the gallery boasted the largest private collection in the country and held more paintings than the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition, the gallery became the hub of social activity in Sacramento, hosting benefits for local organizations and welcoming prominent visitors, including the Hawaiian queen, Liliʻuokalani (1878), President Ulysses S. Grant (1879), and Oscar Wilde (1882). EZ Sacramento Junk Removal

Permanent Collection 

Californian Art and American Art

The Californian art collection includes works dating from statehood to the present. Judge E. B. and Margaret Crocker assembled the core collection of early Californian art in the early 1870s. Prominent in their collection are works by the German-American artist Charles Christian Nahl, who brought the large scale and copious detail of European history painting to works depicting the California Gold Rush. The Crockers commissioned five major works from Nahl, including Sunday Morning in the Mines (1872).

European Art

The collection of European art began with the Crocker family’s trip to Europe from 1869 to 1871. It was not a Grand Tour. The Crockers rented lodgings in Dresden for over a year and traveled mostly in Germany. As a later museum director would write, “Mr. Crocker was a novice and completely susceptible to a kind of fraud in his anxiety to become the possessor of a large collection of masterpieces. He acquired in his wholesale search a collection of more than 700 paintings,” most of them “not by the few famous names given him by the dealers in Munich and Dresden.” (Works said to be by Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin, Salvator Rosa, and even Leonardo da Vinci appear in the initial 1876 catalog but were reattributed in following decades. However, among Crocker’s purchases were several genuinely rare works by a broader array of artists than he realized, and for a brief time, the Crockers possessed the largest private art collection in the United States.

Address: 216 O St, Sacramento, CA

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