About the Buildings
Andrew Mellon selected American architect John Russell Pope to design the museum’s original West Building. His proposal was for a building in a traditional classicizing style but built with the most modern technology. Most of the building’s three-acre roof is composed of skylights so that the galleries below are bathed in bright, unifying natural light. Andrew Mellon and John Russell Pope died within twenty-four hours of each other in August 1937. The West Building was completed in accordance with their plans. It has been maintained and renovated through the years, and is now undergoing a multi-year restoration.
When he created the National Gallery of Art, Andrew Mellon asked Congress to set aside an adjacent plot of land for eventual expansion. After little more than 25 years, that expansion already was needed. In 1967, Andrew Mellon’s children, Paul Mellon and Ailsa Mellon Bruce, offered funds for a second building to meet the museum’s pressing space needs. Architect I. M. Pei was selected to design the building in a modernist style, but closely linked to the original West Building. Construction began in 1971 and the museum opened to the public on June 1, 1978.
Support the National Gallery of Art when you use this handsome tote, featuring the Gallery's classic West Building on one side and modern East Building on the other.
- Recycled PET twill fabric
- 12 x 12.5 x 5 inches
- Black web handles, 11 inch drop