Museum Reviews National Gallery of Art Washington DC

The National Gallery of Art, found in Washington, was opened in 1937 as a gift of art collector and financier Andrew W Mellon. It was accepted by a joint resolution of congress, and in 1941 was a completed building and collection available for public viewing.

So let us first point out, that the best thing about the National Gallery of Art is that it is a free gallery open to the public! Funded by federal funds, the gallery has also relied on private donations to fund the growing art collection.

The National Gallery’s mission statement sets out its national role to the USA, by collecting and preserving works of art. To do so, it has laid out detailed policies and procedures.

The art collection itself has a broad range of art. Starting with paintings, American and British displays feature prominently enough. The museum also has Dutch, Flemish, French, Italian, Spanish modern and contemporary paintings dating back to the 13th century.

Sculpture is featured at the National Gallery. This is found in the European and West Building Sculpture galleries.

The National Gallery also has an estimated 100,000 works on paper. Generally, these works are Western European and American.

Aside from these, the museum now has architecture tours. These tours are focused on the West Building, East Building and sculpture gardens. Decorative arts are also included within the collection. These focus on furniture, tapestries, and ceramics.

For photographers, the photograph selection might be of interest. The photograph collection spans a range of photographic history, from past to present.

Permanent installations within the gallery include the Alexander Calder mobile, Andy Goldsworthy: Roof, Dutch Cabinet Galleries, Italian Cabinet Galleries, Sculpture Galleries: Permanent Collection and a National Gallery of Art: Recent Acquisitions featuring recent additions to the gallery. There are numerous others.

While nothing beats a trip to the National Gallery of Arts, it is possible to gain a glimpse of the art collection via its website. On-line tours are available featuring artists like Jacopo Bassano, Valentin de Boulogne, Thomas Moran and Edgar Degas. Art works like John Singleton Copley: “Watson and the Shark,” can be viewed,  themes such as American Art: Explore 10 Themes, and Art Nouveau, 1890-1914 can also be looked at.

Aside from the art gallery, however, events are held like jazz in the garden. Concerts are held at the National Gallery, also free of charge, which offer seats on a first come first serve basis.

The National Gallery has a number of cafes in the form of the Garden Cafe, which can be found in the West Building. The Pavilion Cafe, found in the west buildings, has a panoramic view of the sculpture garden. Espresso and Galeto bar can be found in the East Building with pastries and deserts.

All things considered, the National Gallery of Art is something that Washington has treasured. A gift well received from Mr. Mellon, which has since had numerous additions to it. Equally unlike the Louvre, you can view the collection free either at the National Gallery of Art, or alternatively via on-line tours.