The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, West Building, East Building, Sculpture Garden 501
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The National Gallery of Art was conceived and given to the people of the United States by Andrew W. Mellon, a financier and art collector from Pittsburgh, who came to Washington in 1921 to serve as secretary of the treasury. The National Gallery has two buildings (East and West), as well as the Sculpture Garden, which has a cafe, as well as an ice rink (only open in winter time). The National Gallery has indoor and outdoor gardens, which are an important part of the original design.
The West Building was designed in a classicizing style but built using the most modern technology of the time. The museum has a splendid collection, which started with the 126 paintings and 26 sculptures given by Andrew Mellon, but went on to get more donations to encompass Italian, Dutch, French, and American art. Andrew Mellon had anticipated that the collections of the National Gallery of Art would grow beyond the capacity of its original building, and at his request, Congress had set aside an adjacent plot of land for future use when it first established the National Gallery. Construction of the East Building began in 1971 and ended in 1978. Today, the East Building displays a magnificent collection of modern art, including masterpieces by Picasso, Kandinsky, Monet, Van Gogh, Dega and other artists.
The Sculpture Garden, a joint project of the National Gallery of Art the National Park Service was opened to the public in 1999. The National Gallery regularly holds various loan exhibitions, as well as educational and cultural enrichment programs (including family programs), it is the home of the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, and a major research library.
The Gallery has five shops (including one Children's Shop, selling books, games, toys, puzzles, and artist supplies), as well as five cafes. The ice skating rink in the Sculpture Garden usually starts operations in November, skates and lockers rental service is available, and an admission fee applies.
Entrance to the National Gallery is free.