Using The Site

The Kress Collection Digital Archive explores the history and development of the Kress Collection. You can search to locate specific records, or browse eight categories: Objects, Archival Materials, Object History (Acquisitions and Distributions), People and Organizations (Artists, Institutions, Dealers and Collectors, and Historians and Conservators). Return to the home page at any time by clicking Kress Collection Digital Archive in the top left corner.


Enter keywords in the Search box on the home page or in the top navigation bar to search across all categories.

Enter keywords in the Search Within field in Search/Browse pages for each category, either alone or in combination with filters applied.

Advanced Search is available for Objects, which allows searching within a specific field or fields. Click Advanced Search directly above filters to open the Art Objects Advanced Search form.

Use a wildcard search to maximize search results (e.g., searching for K1145* will bring up results for K1145A and K1145B).


Browse by selecting a category in the top navigation bar or through the Explore section on the home page. To narrow results, click to expand the filters listed on the left side. Once you have made your selection(s), click Apply. (Multiple filters may be applied.) Click the x next to the value to remove a single filter or click Clear All Filters.


Individual Records

Images of art objects and scanned archival materials are available for download by clicking on JPG Image or PDF Document next to the down arrow in the upper right corner of Object, Archival Item, and Acquisition records.

To download illustrated summaries of record data, including relationships to other records, click PDF Summary in the upper right corner.

Search/Browse Results

To export a PDF checklist of results, click the down arrow in the upper right (above results displayed on a Search/Browse page) and select Checklist PDF. The illustrated PDF contains caption data for all records displayed.

To export record results data in spreadsheet format, click the down arrow in the upper right (above results displayed on a Search/Browse page) and select Full Data Excel. The spreadsheet contains full data for all records displayed.


To select images or archival materials for side-by-side comparison, click the double box in the lower right corner on Search/Browse pages. You may also click Compare Image in the upper right corner of records to select another image. Click the Compare Images tab that appears in the lower right of the page to open the image viewer.

Kress Number

In the early stages of acquisition, Kress Collection art objects received a letter designation, signifying type, and number, signifying a chronological order of acquisition within that type:

B One painting at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
dK Drawings
H One painting at Museum of Fine Arts Houston
K Furniture
L Lighting (candlesticks)
M Paintings given to the Metropolitan Museum of Art or Mortars
O Ornaments and Novelties (decorative arts)
P Nielli
R Rugs
SF Statues and figures (sculpture)
T Tapestries (also includes velvets and a cape)
V Vases (and other ceramics, such as bowls and pitchers)
Ve Velvets
X Paintings

After only a few years, the letter designation was abandoned: “non-art” objects, such as velvets and furniture, no longer received numbers. Thereafter, all art objects were simply identified by a number that roughly followed the order of its purchase. Occasionally, works were renumbered if they were repurchased. This numbering system continued as the numbers reached triple digits.

In June 1936, a new numbering sequence—starting at 1001—was implemented to distinguish between art objects purchased by the Kress Foundation and those by Samuel H. Kress. Art objects purchased by Mr. Kress continued the original three-digit sequence, while the new four-digit system was used for works acquired by the Foundation.

Works of art were sometimes renumbered during this era of the two systems, as their ownership was interchanged between Mr. Kress and the Foundation. The two systems persisted simultaneously until the mid-1950s, when the three-digit number was phased out and all newly acquired works of art were considered owned by the Foundation. The four-digit sequence continued to be applied to all new works of art until the end of Kress collecting.

Identifiers described above are recorded in object records as Kress Number.

As a number was assigned to an artwork shortly after its purchase, objects no longer in the collection due to return, deaccession, or other circumstances may have received Kress numbers. All art objects for which a number could be found are included in this project, even if they were later removed from the collection or were never cataloged.

In the Complete Catalogue of the Samuel H. Kress Collection, published 1964–1977, collection objects were indexed by their Kress numbers, preceded by a K. Subsequently, the Kress numbers are commonly referred to as K numbers. They are recorded in Object records as Kress Catalogue Number and display in results captions.