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Release Date: February 29, 2016

National Gallery of Art, Washington Commemorates 75th Anniversary with Array of Public Programs and New Publication

National Gallery of Art 75th year anniversary seal

Washington, DC—In 2016, the National Gallery of Art will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the opening of the museum with a variety of public programs, including concerts, films, educational programs, a new published history of the Gallery, and an on-site sketching program. Founded by Andrew W. Mellon and accepted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on behalf of the nation, the Gallery opened to the public on March 17, 1941. For more information about the Gallery's history and the programs that commemorate the 75th anniversary, visit

75 Years/75 Stories: April 1–3, 2016

A special series of 75 engaging and sometimes surprising stories about works of art in the collection will be presented April 1-3, 2016. Gallery experts (curators, lecturers, conservators, and docents) will deliver 15-minute "pop up" talks about the collection. Stories include the acquisition of Leonardo da Vinci's Ginevra de' Benci (c. 1474/1478)—codenamed "the bird"—arriving under cover of night in 1967 to take up its permanent home at the Gallery.

The pop-up talks will be scheduled in 30-minute intervals with two or three taking place at the same time in different areas of the Gallery. Several talks per day will be offered in accessible formats, including those with enhanced verbal description as well as talks interpreted into American Sign Language. A detailed schedule of talks will be available in March.

Concerts: March 17–20, 2016

In honor of the 75th anniversary, the Gallery will present four days of performances by Washington, DC's military ensembles. Concerts are free of charge and open to the public on a first-come, first-seated basis.

US Air Force Band Airmen of Note Combo
Thursday, March 17 at 12:10, 1:10, and 2:10 p.m.
West Building, East Garden Court

"The President's Own" US Marine Chamber Orchestra
Friday, March 18 at 12:00 and 2:00 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court

US Navy Band Sea Chanters
Saturday, March 19 at 3:00 p.m.
East Building Atrium

US Army Chorus and Brass Quintet
Sunday, March 20 at 3:30 p.m.
West Building, West Garden Court

Sketching Is Seeing: March 25–April 24, 2016

From Friday, March 25 through Sunday, April 24, 2016, the Art Information Room, located in the West Building on the Mall entrance side, will be transformed into a "Sketching Is Seeing" orientation space. Building on the time-honored tradition of artists who sketch to explore ideas and the world around them, "Sketching Is Seeing" is a pilot program that offers an experience for visitors, providing inspiration to sketch from original works of art. This program is not about how well you can draw; rather, visitors will be encouraged to think about sketching as a tool to explore the museum—to slow down, look carefully, and connect with works of art.

Faber-Castell USA is pleased to have provided all complimentary pencils for "Sketching Is Seeing" in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the National Gallery of Art.

Visitors are encouraged to stop by the Art Information Room to learn more about the program and to pick up materials, including a complimentary National Gallery of Art 75th anniversary sketchbook and pencil. Members of the public can also share their creativity via Twitter or Instagram (@ngadc) using #NGAsketch. The program is designed for all ages.

Gallery Talks in Honor of the 75th Anniversary

Free talks by museum educators and specialists focus on specific aspects of the Gallery's permanent collection. These programs are geared to an adult audience. Meet in the West Building Rotunda. (50 mins.)

Andrew Mellon Collects: Northern Painting. Eric Denker: March 1-3, 8-10, 15, 16 at 12:00 pm. WB.
The Wideners Collect. Diane Arkin: March 5, 8-10, 15, 16-25, April 2 at 2:00 pm; March 6, April 3 at 1:00 pm. WB.
Andrew Mellon and Samuel Kress Collect: Italian Paintings. David Gariff: April 1, 7-14, 19, 20 at 1:00 pm. WB.

Related Films

The Grandest Spaces: New Films on International Art Museums
August–September 2016
Art museums have recently been a major topic in the cinema—their internal histories, staffs, behind-the-scenes workings, and occasional controversies. Portrayed in a variety of styles from documentary to narrative fiction to experimental, the National Gallery, London; the Louvre; the Hermitage; the Rijksmuseum; and the Prado are just a few of the institutions touched in this series of films by directors such as Frederick Wiseman, Alexander Sokurov, Jem Cohen, and Johannes Holzhausen.


Celebrating a Milestone: 75 Years of the National Gallery of Art and the Samuel H. Kress Foundation
May 23 at 2:00 p.m.
East Building Auditorium

A Platinum Jubilee: The Gallery and The Kress @ 75

Max Marmor, president, Samuel H. Kress Foundation

The Kress Collection at the Seattle Art Museum
Chiyo Ishikawa, Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art and curator of European painting and sculpture, Seattle Art Museum

The Leveraged Gift: The Making of the David and Alfred Smart Museum at the University of Chicago
Max Koss, Samuel H. Kress Foundation Provenance Research Fellow, David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art and University of Chicago

Princes, Dukes and Counts: Provenance and Pedigrees in the Kress Collection
Nancy H. Yeide, head, department of curatorial records, National Gallery of Art

History Revealed: The Kress Collection of Historic Images

Melissa Beck Lemke, image specialist for Italian art, National Gallery of Art

Presenting the Kress Collection: Restoration and Framing

Elizabeth Walmsley, paintings conservator, National Gallery of Art, and Steve Wilcox, senior conservator of frames, National Gallery of Art


The Gallery will launch a new social media campaign on March 17 to commemorate the museum's 75th anniversary. Using #MyNGADC across Twitter and Instagram, the Gallery will encourage the online community to share their personal connections to the museum. Throughout 2016, the Gallery will share the stories of its collection and its artists, and using #MyNGADC, ask the public to answer the question: "What inspires you about the Gallery?"

America's National Gallery of Art

A lavishly illustrated history of the National Gallery of Art on the occasion of the 75th anniversary, this volume by Phillip Kopper takes readers on a behind-the-scenes inside tour through the museum's remarkable founding and growth. This richly detailed publication recounts the development of the National Gallery of Art under its four directors—David Finley, John Walker, J. Carter Brown, and current leader Earl A. Powell III—and highlights the museum's collections, exhibitions, architecture, and ambience. Later chapters explore the Gallery's new emphasis on modern art and its historic 2014 agreement to accept stewardship of the collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, giving readers and visitors a window into the future of this national treasure. Published by the National Gallery of Art, the 400-page book will be available in September 2016 in softcover and hardcover for purchase in the Gallery Shops. To order, please visit; call (800) 697-9350 or (202) 842-6002; fax (202) 789-3047; or e-mail [email protected].

Anabeth Guthrie, (202) 842-6804 or [email protected]
Sarah Edwards Holley, (202) 842-6359 or [email protected]

General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

The Gallery also offers a broad range of newsletters for various interests. Follow this link to view the complete list.

Order Press Images

To order publicity images: Click on the link above and designate your desired images using the checkbox below each thumbnail. Please include your name and contact information, press affiliation, deadline for receiving images, the date of publication, and a brief description of the kind of press coverage planned.

Anabeth Guthrie
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

Sarah Edwards Holley
(202) 842-6359
[email protected]