National Gallery of Art

The grand marble West Building, the I.M. Pei-designed East Building, and the Sculpture Garden together comprise the National Gallery of Art.

Designed by architect John Russell Pope and built in 1941, the National Gallery of Art is the United States' national art museum. The institution has its roots in 1937, when it was privately established via Act of Congress, using funds and a donated collection from Andrew W. Mellon. Although the new gallery was designed to be self-governing rather than part of the Smithsonian Institution, it assumed the name "National Gallery of Art," which had previously described the Smithsonian's art gallery (since renamed the Smithsonian American Art Museum.)

The West Building of the National Gallery of Art 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. In 1978, the East Building, designed by I.M. Pei, was built on the unused land that had been reserved for the gallery; the building won a National Honor Award from the American Institute of Architects in 1981. Finally, the campus was completed with the addition of the Sculpture Garden in 1999.

DC Inventory: March 7, 1968 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
Within National Mall Historic District



6th Street & Constitution Avenue, NW