The National Gallery of Art’s painting collection, like the museum itself, began with
Inspired by the example of the National Gallery, London, Mellon hoped that his gift would attract other gifts of equal significance. This wish bore fruit in 1942 with the donation of the collection of
The third major collection that helped form the core of the National Gallery’s holdings came from
Further rounding out and enhancing the National Gallery’s status as a world-class art museum was the gift in 1963 from
While these contributors are some of the most prominent, the painting collection has been enriched through many generous bequests and donations since its founding. It should also be mentioned that the Gallery has one of the finest collections of American paintings in the United States, with works in all genres from the 18th to the 20th century.
Some acquisitions are made through purchase, based on the expert advice of Gallery curators, but it is important to note that such purchases are made with funds specifically designated for acquiring works of art. Although the federal government is responsible for the maintenance and basic operation of the Gallery, the art acquisitions are supported by the private sector. The success of this partnership is reflected in the National Gallery’s large and superlative paintings collection that spans the time between the late 14th and the 21st centuries.