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Encyclopedia > National Gallery of Art
The West building of the National Gallery of Art with the East building visible behind and to to the left
The West building of the National Gallery of Art with the East building visible behind and to to the left

The National Gallery of Art is an art museum, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The museum was established in 1937 by the Congress, with funds for construction and a substantial art collection donated by Andrew W. Mellon plus major art works donated by Lessing J. Rosenwald, Italian art contributions from Samuel H. Kress, and more than 2,000 sculptures, paintings, decorative art, and porcelains from Joseph E. Widener. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 413 pixel Image in higher resolution (1227 × 633 pixel, file size: 160 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Image of the National Gallery of Art scanned from the Museums official guide map File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 413 pixel Image in higher resolution (1227 × 633 pixel, file size: 160 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) Image of the National Gallery of Art scanned from the Museums official guide map File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Facing east across the Mall with ones back towards the Lincoln Memorial. ... Nickname: DC, The District Motto: Justitia Omnibus (Justice for All) Location of Washington, D.C., in relation to the states Maryland and Virginia Coordinates: Country United States Federal District District of Columbia Government  - Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D)  - City Council Chairperson: Vincent C. Gray (D) Ward 1: Jim Graham (D... Year 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Type Bicameralism Houses Senate House of Representatives United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D, since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D, since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political groups (as of November 7, 2006 elections) Democratic Party Republican... Mellon at his Desk, 1929. ... Lessing J. Rosenwald (1891-June 24, 1979) was an American businessman and collector of rare books and art. ... Samuel Henry Kress (23 July 1863 - 22 September 1955) was a United States businessman and philanthropist, founder of the S. H. Kress & Co. ... Joseph Early Widener (August 19, 1871 - October 26, 1943) was a wealthy American art collector who was a founding benefactor of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and a major figure in Thoroughbred horse racing as head of New Yorks Belmont Park and builder of Miami...

Contents

History

Beginning in the 1920s, financier and art collector Andrew W. Mellon began gathering a collection of old master paintings and sculptures with the intent of providing the country with a national art gallery. Following his death in 1937, Congress in a joint resolution accepted Mellon's collection and building funds (provided through the A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust), and approved the construction of a museum on the National Mall.[1] The 1920s is a decade sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ... An Old Master (or old master) is one of the great European painters who lived 1500 through 1800, or a painting by one of these painters. ... Year 1937 (MCMXXXVII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Look up Congress in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A joint resolution is a legislative measure of the United States of America, designated as S.J.Res (for the Senate version) and H.J.Res (for the House version), which requires the approval of both chambers of the United States Congress. ... Facing east across the Mall with ones back towards the Lincoln Memorial. ...


Designed by architect John Russell Pope (who would go on to design the Jefferson Memorial), the new structure was completed and accepted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on behalf of the American people on March 17, 1941. At the time of its inception it was the largest marble structure in the world. The museum stands on the former site of the Sixth Street railway station, most famous for being where 20th president James Garfield was shot in 1881 by a disgruntled office seeker. The Jefferson Memorial, built 1939 — 1943 John Russell Pope (April 24, 1874 – August 27, 1937) was an architect most known for his designs of the Jefferson Memorial (completed in 1943) and the West Building of the National Gallery of Art (completed in 1941) in Washington, DC. Pope was born in... The Jefferson Memorial from outside The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington, D.C. that is dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, an American Founding Father and the third president of the United States. ... Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), 32nd President of the United States, the longest-serving holder of the office and the only person to be elected President more than twice, was one of the central figures of 20th century history. ... March 17 is the 76th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (77th in leap years). ... For the movie, see 1941 (film). ... James Abram Garfield (November 19, 1831 – September 19, 1881) was the 20th President of the United States (1881) and the second U.S. President to be assassinated (Abraham Lincoln was the first). ... Year 1881 (MDCCCLXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar). ...


As anticipated by Mellon, the creation of the National gallery encouraged the donation of other substantial art collections by a number of private donors. Founding benefactors included such individuals as Paul Mellon, Samuel H. Kress, Rush H. Kress, Ailsa Mellon Bruce, Chester Dale, Joseph Widener, Lessing J. Rosenwald, Edgar William, and Bernice Chrysler Garbisch. Paul Mellon KBE (11 June 1907 – 1 February 1999) was an American philanthropist and Thoroughbred racehorse owner/breeder who is one of the only four people ever designated Exemplars of Racing by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. ... Samuel Henry Kress (23 July 1863 - 22 September 1955) was a United States businessman and philanthropist, founder of the S. H. Kress & Co. ... Ailsa Mellon Bruce (1901 - August 25, 1969), born in Pittsburgh, was the daughter of the banker and diplomat Andrew W. Mellon. ... Joseph Early Widener (August 19, 1871 – October 26, 1943) was a wealthy American art collector who was a founding benefactor of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and a major figure in Thoroughbred horse racing as head of New Yorks Belmont Park and builder of Miami... Lessing J. Rosenwald (1891-June 24, 1979) was an American businessman and collector of rare books and art. ...


The Gallery's East Building was constructed in the 1970s on the much of the remaining land left over from the original congressional joint resolution utilizing funds from Mellon's children Paul Mellon and Alisa Mellon Bruce. Designed by famed architect I.M. Pei, the contemporary structure was completed in 1978, and was opened on June 1 of that year by President Jimmy Carter. The new building was built to house the Museum's collection of modern paintings, drawings, sculptures, and prints, as well as study and research centers and offices. The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, inclusive. ... Paul Mellon KBE (11 June 1907 – 1 February 1999) was an American philanthropist and Thoroughbred racehorse owner/breeder who is one of the only four people ever designated Exemplars of Racing by the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame. ... Ieoh Ming Pei (貝聿銘 pinyin Bèi Yùmíng) is a Chinese American architect born in Suzhou, China on April 26, 1917. ... 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... June 1 is the 152nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (153rd in leap years), with 213 days remaining. ... James Earl Jimmy Carter, Jr. ...


The final addition to the complex is the the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. Completed and opened to the public on May 23, 1999, the location provides a outdoor setting for exhibiting a number of pieces from the Museum's contemporary sculpture collection. May 23 is the 143rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (144th in leap years). ... 1999 (MCMXCIX) was a common year starting on Friday, and was designated the International Year of Older Persons by the United Nations. ...


Buildings

The East Building of the Gallery
The East Building of the Gallery

The museum comprises two buildings, the East Building and the West Building, that are linked by an underground passage. Its design, by architect John Russell Pope, is neoclassical, with a gigantic columned portico and a massive dome reminiscent of the Pantheon (as is Pope's other notable Washington, D.C. building, the Jefferson Memorial), except for the West Building's symmetrically-attached extended wings. The design of the East Building by architect I.M. Pei is also geometrical, but fragmented or faceted by comparison to the West Building's cool classicism; from above, it appears as if made of interlocking diamonds. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The Jefferson Memorial, built 1939 — 1943 John Russell Pope (April 24, 1874 – August 27, 1937) was an architect most known for his designs of the Jefferson Memorial (completed in 1943) and the West Building of the National Gallery of Art (completed in 1941) in Washington, DC. Pope was born in... The neoclassical movement that produced Neoclassical architecture began in the mid-18th century, both as a reaction against the Rococo style of anti-tectonic naturalistic ornament, and an outgrowth of some classicizing features of Late Baroque. ... Categories: Architectural elements | Stub ... This article includes a list of works cited but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Facade of the Pantheon The Pantheon (Latin Pantheon[1], from Greek Πάνθεον Pantheon, meaning Temple of all the Gods) is a building in Rome which was originally built as a temple to the seven deities of the seven planets in the state religion of Ancient Rome, but which has been a... The Jefferson Memorial from outside The Thomas Jefferson Memorial is a presidential memorial in Washington, D.C. that is dedicated to Thomas Jefferson, an American Founding Father and the third president of the United States. ... Ieoh Ming Pei (貝聿銘 pinyin Bèi Yùmíng) is a Chinese American architect born in Suzhou, China on April 26, 1917. ...


The West Building has an extensive collection of paintings and sculptures by European masters from the medieval period through the late 19th century, as well as pre-20th century works by American artists. Highlights of the collection include many paintings by Jan Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh, and the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Western Hemisphere. Byzantine monumental Church mosaics are a crowning glory of Medieval Art. ... View of Delft, 1660-1661 Johannes Vermeer (1632 - December 15, 1675) was a Dutch painter. ... Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (July 15, 1606 - October 4, 1669) is generally considered one of the greatest painters in European art history, and the most important United Provinces (Netherlands) painter of the seventeenth century. ... Claude Monet also known as Oscar-Claude Monet or Claude Oscar Monet (November 14, 1840 – December 5, 1926)[1] was a founder of French Impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movements philosophy of expressing ones perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein... Vincent Willem van Gogh (Dutch pronunciation: ) (March 30, 1853 in Zundert – July 29, 1890 in Auvers-sur-Oise) was a Dutch draughtsman and painter, classified as a Post-Impressionist. ... The Mona Lisa Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian polymath: scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, musician, and writer. ... The geographical western hemisphere of Earth, highlighted in yellow. ...


The East Building focuses on modern and contemporary art, with a collection including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Alexander Calder. The East Building also contains the main offices of the NGA and a large research facility. Modern art is a general term used for most of the artistic production from the late 19th century until approximately the 1970s. ... Contemporary art refers to recently produced visual art. ... Pablo Ruiz Picasso (October 25, 1881 – April 8, 1973) was a Spanish painter and sculptor. ... Henri Matisse (December 31, 1869 – November 3, 1954) was a French artist, noted for his use of color and his fluid, brilliant and original draughtsmanship. ... Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956) was an influential American painter and a major force in the abstract expressionist movement. ... Andy Warhol August 6, 1928 — February 22, 1987) was an American artist associated with the definition of Pop Art. ... Drowning Girl (1963). ... Alexander Calder (July 22, 1898 – November 11, 1976), also known as Sandy Calder, was an American sculptor and artist most famous for inventing the mobile. ...


To the west of the West Building, across Seventh Street, is the Sculpture Garden. The 6.1 acres (25,000 m²) of the garden are centered on a large circular fountain (an ice rink in the winter) surrounded by stone seating. The exhibited sculptures in the surrounding landscaped area include pieces by Joan Miro, Louise Bourgeois, and Hector Guimard. Georgia Avenue is a major through north-south artery in northwest Washington, D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland. ... Rockefeller Centre ice rink An ice rink is a frozen body of water where people can ice skate or play winter sports. ... Joan Miró (April 20, 1893 - December 25, 1983) was a painter, sculptor and ceramist born in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. ... Maman, by Louise Bourgeois, is a 30-foot-tall spider. ... Designed in 1899, the Porte Dauphine station exhibits Guimards only surviving enclosed edicule of the Paris Métro. ...


Operations

The National Gallery of Art is supported through a private-public partnership. The United States federal government provides funds, through annual appropriations, to support the museum's operations and maintenance. All artwork, as well as special programs, are provided through private donations and funds. The museum is not part of the Smithsonian Institution. It is one of the more than 90 cultural institutions in the United States that are Smithsonian "affiliate museums". The Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle on the National Mall serves as the Institutions headquarters. ...


Noted directors of the National Gallery have included John Walker and J. Carter Brown. Earl A. Powell III is the current director. John Walker is the name of: John Walker (Canadian politician) (1832-1889) John Walker (1826-1885), cricketer and the eldest brother of the Walkers of Southgate John Walker (1854- *), cricketer John Walker (inventor), inventor of the friction match, in 1827 John Walker (programmer), one of the designers of AutoCAD John... John Carter Brown (1797-1874) was a book collector whose library formed the basis of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University. ...


Entry to both buildings of the National Gallery of Art is free of charge. From Monday through Saturday, the museum is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; it is open from 11 – 6 p.m. on Sundays. It is closed on December 25 and January 1.

References

  • David Cannadine, Mellon: An American Life, Knopf, 2006, ISBN 0-679-45032-7

External links


 
 

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