National Gallery of Art

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National Gallery of Art,

Washington, D.C., an affiliate of the Smithsonian InstitutionSmithsonian Institution,
research and education center, mainly at Washington, D.C.; founded 1846 under the terms of the will of James Smithson of London, who in 1829 bequeathed his fortune to the United States to create an establishment for the "increase and diffusion of
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, established by an act of Congress, 1937. Andrew W. MellonMellon, Andrew William,
1855–1937, American financier, industrialist, and public official, b. Pittsburgh. He studied at the Western Univ. of Pennsylvania (now the Univ. of Pittsburgh), but he left college to organize a lumber business with his brother, Richard B. Mellon.
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 donated funds for construction of the building as well as his own collection of 130 American portraits. The marble West Building was designed by John Russell PopePope, John Russell,
1874–1937, American architect, b. New York City, studied at the College of the City of New York and the School of Mines, Columbia (Ph.B., 1894). He won a fellowship (1895) to the American Academy in Rome.
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; it opened in Mar., 1941. The East Building, designed by I. M. PeiPei, I. M.
(Ieoh Ming Pei) , 1917–, Chinese-American architect, b. Guangzhou, China. Pei emigrated to the United States in 1935 and studied at the Univ. of Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Harvard, where he taught from 1945 to 1948.
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, was completed in 1978 and expanded by renovations finished in 2016. The outdoor sculpture garden opened in 1999. Among the works in the gallery are Samuel H. Kress's collection of Italian masterpieces, the Joseph E. Widener Collection, the Chester Dale Collection, the Lessing J. Rosenwald collection of drawings and prints, the Edgar W. and Bernice C. Garbisch collection of American naive paintings, and the Paul Mellon collection of portraits of Native Americans by George Catlin. The gallery's paintings number more than 1,200 and it also has a significant number of drawings and prints. The collection is especially rich in Italian, French, and American works. The museum also maintains a research center, a library, and the Index of American Design, consisting of some 18,000 watercolors illustrating the history of American crafts and folk art. The gallery's collection also includes (since 2014) the artworks of the Corcoran Gallery of Art (see under Corcoran, William WilsonCorcoran, William Wilson
, 1798–1888, American financier, philanthropist, and art collector, b. Georgetown, D.C. After becoming a successful banker, he retired in 1854 and devoted himself to his philanthropic activities, which included gifts to many educational and
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See H. Cairns and J. Walker, ed., A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art (2 vol., 1966); M. Wilson, The National Gallery (1984); M. Richler, National Gallery of Art, Washington: A World of Art (1998); J. Hand, Master Paintings from the Collection: National Gallery of Art (2004).

National Gallery of Art


in Washington, D.C., one of the best art collections in the United States. It is under the management of the Smithsonian Institute. Founded in 1937, the National Gallery of Art was opened in 1941. Its building was designed by J. R. Pope. The basis of the gallery’s collections consists of private collections donated by Mellon, Kress, Widener, Chester Dale, and others. The National Gallery is the repository of thousands of European and American works of art, including paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, and examples of the decorative arts. It houses one of the world’s best collections of Italian Renaissance painting. The gallery has paintings by Raphael, Giorgione, Titian, F. Clouet, El Greco, Rembrandt, J. Vermeer, P. P. Rubens, T. Gainsborough, E. Manet, E. Degas, P. Picasso, J. S. Copley, and G. Stuart. Its sculpture collection includes works by Donatello, G. L. Bernini, and J. A. Houdon.


Walker, J. National Gallery of Art Washington, D.C. New York, 1963.
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