“David Kreeger was the cultural center of Washington before it was a cultural center, and to his actions and words, in great part, Washington owes its centrality.”—Isaac Stern, Internationally Renowned Concert Violinist
Raised in different cultures, David Kreeger and Carmen Matanzo met in Puerto Rico while David was working as a lawyer for the Interior Department. They fell in love, married, and ultimately settled in Washington, DC. Both were accomplished amateur musicians who shared a passion for art, music, theater, and literature.
In Inspiring Legacy, author Syril Levin Kline chronicles the Kreeger’s lifelong patronage of the arts in the nation’s capital. David’s success at the helm of GEICO insurance enabled the couple to make significant donations to major national arts institutions such as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts while also acquiring works by many 19th and 20th century European artists including Monet, Picasso, Degas, Renoir and Van Gogh as well as masterpieces of African art. As their collection grew, even the Kreeger's home—referred to in the media as “the jewel on Foxhall Road” for its stunning Mediterranean-inspired design by architect Philip Johnson—became a gateway to the arts.
In 1990, only months before his death, David was presented with the National Medal of Arts Award at the White House. Four years later, Carmen and the couple’s children fulfilled David’s wish that their home become The Kreeger Museum, which is open to the public and displays about 180 works. Carmen died in 2003, but the couple’s enduring legacy of philanthropy and love of the arts lives on.
Syril Levin Kline is the recipient of a First Place International Chaucer Award for Shakespeare’s Changeling: A Controversial Literary Historical Novel, a book inspired by a conversation she and her husband Peter shared with David and Carmen Kreeger at their Foxhall Road home. Syril’s career as an author, educator, actress, musician, and theater director underscores her personal love for the arts. She graduated with honors from the University of Maryland and lives in South Carolina where she teaches at the Addlestone Hebrew Academy.