Joseph H. Hirshhorn (1899-1981)

A self made man, Joseph H. Hirshhorn, gained his wealth in the oil, gold and uranium industries.  With the money that he accumulated over the years, he used to purchase art.  When buying he focused on American paintings from about 1870 on and European and American sculpture from the middle of the nineteenth century on.  He had a particular interest in modern art; he felt it to be a liberating experience, which touched him deeply and produced aesthetic experiences that was previously unbeknownst to him from inquires into past art.   His career as an art collector spans a period of more than forty years, in which he acquired roughly 12,000 works, half of which he donated to the United States.  This donation of 6,502 pieces was given to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in the 1970s, built for the purpose of holding solely from his collection.  The museum is situated in the Mall of the United States Capital.  It is still enjoyed today by art enthusiasts, tourist and Washingtonians alike for not only its quantity but quality of sculptural works.