“We at the National Gallery of Art are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of architect I. M. Pei. His death is a great loss to the nation, to the Gallery, and to each one of our visitors who has marveled at his timeless design of our East Building. Pei’s vision for the East Building was a gift to our nation.”
—Kaywin Feldman, director, National Gallery of Art
Opened in 1978, the I. M. Pei-designed East Building houses the National Gallery of Art’s collection of modern and contemporary art. Built with funds donated by Paul Mellon and his sister, Ailsa Mellon Bruce (philanthropists and children of Andrew W. Mellon), and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the East Building has welcomed some 75 million visitors since it opened on June 1, 1978. Pei’s masterpiece has provided an eloquent setting for the display of great works of modern art from the permanent collection, some 300 temporary exhibitions, a library and rare book collection, administrative offices, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, which fosters international understanding of art and culture.