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National Gallery of Art

Washington, D.C. / United States

The National Gallery of Art, and its attached Sculpture Garden, is a national art museum in Washington, D.C., located on the National Mall, between 3rd and 9th Streets, at Constitution Avenue NW. Open to the public and free of charge, the museum was privately established in 1937 for the American people by a joint resolution of the United States Congress. Andrew W. Mellon donated a substantial art collection and funds for construction. The core collection includes major works of art donated by Paul Mellon, Ailsa Mellon Bruce, Lessing J. Rosenwald, Samuel Henry Kress, Rush Harrison Kress, Peter Arrell Browne Widener, Joseph E. Widener, and Chester Dale. The Gallery's collection of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, medals, and decorative arts traces the development of Western Art from the Middle Ages to the present, including the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas and the largest mobile created by Alexander Calder. The Gallery's campus includes the original neoclassical West Building designed by John Russell Pope, which is linked underground to the modern East Building, designed by I. M. Pei, and the 6.1-acre Sculpture Garden. The Gallery often presents temporary special exhibitions spanning the world and the history of art. It is one of the largest museums in North America. For the breadth, scope, and magnitude of its collections, the National Gallery is widely considered to be one of the greatest museums in the United States of America, often ranking alongside the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in Boston, Massachusetts. Of the top three art museums in the United States by annual visitors, it is the only one that has no admission fee. It ranks 2nd in American museums behind the Met for number of annual visitors and 10th in the world.