Appreciating all that makes America special

National Gallery of Art

National Gallery of Art,

This is the 1977 addition, designed by I.M. Pei, built to house the modern art collection. Uploaded by

It’s impressive what one man with a vision – and lots and lots of money – can accomplish. Andrew W. Mellon loved art, especially the old masters, and amassed quite a collection in the early decades of the twentieth century. Mellon wanted to make a gift of his collection to the country, so he donated his paintings and the funds for construction of a museum to the U.S. Government. Congress accepted the gift, and FDR dedicated the National Gallery of Art in 1941.

National Gallery of Art,

Uploaded by

The original building was designed by John Russell Pope, who would go on to design the Jefferson Memorial. As years passed, the Gallery decided it needed an additional building to house its growing collection of modern art.  I.M. Pei was called on to design a suitable building, and the buildings are now connected. The third section of the Gallery was the Sculpture Garden, opened in 1999. Now you can visit the museum and see the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in the Americas and the largest mobile ever created by Alexander Calder.

By the way, it’s interesting that FDR got to reap the benefit of Andrew Mellon’s gift, because Roosevelt did everything in his power to discredit Mellon, going so far as to indict and try the philanthropist on charges of tax fraud. Mellon was eventually exonerated.

It's easy to share with friends.