Timken Museum of Art Timken Museum of Art

Timken Museum of Art

The San Diego, California-based museum preserves and displays the Putnam Collection of European old masters, American art, and Russian icons.

Celebrating a Collection of European Old Masters

Timken Museum of Art

The Timken Museum of Art was founded by the Timken family and the Putnam sisters, Anne and Amy. Henry Timken was a 19th-century inventor and businessman from Ohio who wintered in San Diego, while the Putnam sisters hailed from a prominent Vermont family that moved to San Diego in 1913.

Devotees of the arts and humanities, the Putnam sisters began developing relationships in the American and European art worlds. As a result of substantial inheritances, the sisters pursued their passion for collecting important European paintings, which they donated anonymously to the San Diego Museum of Art (then known as the Fine Arts Society). In 1950, under the guidance of their attorney, Walter Ames, the sisters established the nonprofit Putnam Foundation, whose purpose was to acquire masterworks that would be loaned to museums across the country.  

In the 1960s, Ames arranged with another client, Henry H. Timken, Jr., for the Timken Foundation to fund construction of a new museum in San Diego that would serve as the home for these on-loan Putnam paintings. Today, the Timken Museum provides an array of programs for students, senior citizens, and educators to strengthen their appreciation and knowledge of art history.

GRoW Support


General Operating Support