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On Friday, November 21, the National Gallery of Art’s Board of Trustees announced an impressive series of new acquisitions. From a collection of underground comic books to five sets of rare Venetian etchings, the recent additions to the museum’s collection are decidedly varied and unique. According to Earl A. Powell III, the director of the National Gallery, "These new acquisitions embody the innovation, continuity, and renewal that characterize art. The Gallery is very grateful for the continuing generosity of its donors and to the public for visiting us—from every corner of the globe—to view the treasures of our permanent collection."

The comic book collection was gifted to the museum by leading American art history scholars, Abigail and William Gerdts. The bequest marks the first time that comic books have been added to the National Gallery’s permanent collection.

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The National Gallery of Art's "Little Dancer Aged Fourteen" (1878–1881) takes center stage in "Degas's Little Dancer," a focus exhibition on view through January 11, 2015. The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts' world-premiere musical "Little Dancer," which runs from October 25, 2014 through November 30, 2014. The musical is inspired by Edgar Degas's renowned original wax statuette of a young ballerina, which caused a sensation when it was first shown at the 1881 impressionist exhibition in Paris and is one of the most popular works of art in the Gallery of Art's collection.

"Thanks to the generosity of Gallery benefactor Paul Mellon, the Gallery has the largest and most important collection of Degas's original wax sculptures, including the groundbreaking 'Little Dancer Aged Fourteen,' one of the best-loved sculptures of all time," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art.

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The National Gallery of Art unveils a show of artwork from one of America's best known painters, Andrew Wyeth, on May 4th that has a decidedly new twist. The exhibit focuses on Wyeth’s fascination with windows – an apparently unnoticed feature of his work that came to light when a curator began wondering about a Wyeth acquisition that came to the gallery in 2009.

The evocative painting of a window with gently billowing curtains and a landscape through the window, “Wind from the Sea,” made curator Nancy K. Anderson start looking for more. “Are we making this up?” she asked, only to have Wyeth family members confirm his interest in windows.

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Since September 2013, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. has acquired a number of important works from the 15th through 20th centuries including tempera-and-gold drawings on vellum from the Middle Ages and works on paper by Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin. Earl A. Powell III, the director of the National Gallery of Art, said, “These acquisitions are masterworks from the Middle Ages to the current moment that represent the highest levels of creativity in media ranging from printmaking and manuscript illumination to easel painting and photography. We are delighted that they can be shared with the public as part of our permanent collection.”

Among the museum’s recent acquisitions are a woodcut-illustrated book of Giovanni Boccaccio’s ‘Seminal History of Famous Women’, the Gallery’s earliest German woodcut book; ‘Still Life with Peacock Pie,’ a banquet piece measuring more than four feet across by the Dutch Golden Age painter Pieter Claesz; one of Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s finest versions of ‘Avenue of Cypresses at Villa d’Este’; a watercolor by Cézanne titled ‘A Stand of Trees Along a River Bank’; an early drawing by Gauguin titled ‘Seated Nude Seen from Above’; a pastel of Waterloo Bridge by Monet; and Pop artist Jim Dine’s ‘Name Painting.’ The National Gallery of Art also received works by artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Marc Chagall, Jasper Johns and Robert Motherwell from the celebrated Herbert and Dorothy Vogel Collection. 

The National Gallery of Art was established in 1937 for the people of the United States by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress. Financier and art collector, Andrew W. Mellon, donated a portion of his sizeable art collection to the museum, forming its core holdings. The National Gallery of Art’s collection of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculptures and decorative arts spans from the Middle Ages to the present and includes the only painting by Leonardo da Vinci in the Americas as well as the largest mobile ever created by Alexander Calder.

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The Board of Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. announced an upcoming partnership with the National Gallery of Art. The three-year agreement allows the Corcoran to exhibit works of modern and contemporary art from the National Gallery’s collection while the museum’s East Building is under renovation. The Corcoran is working on trimming expenses and has been battling rumors that it will sell its landmark Beaux Arts building due to financial troubles. During the Board’s announcement, officials scrapped any speculation by confirming that the Corcoran will not be moving.

The Corcoran has collaborated with the National Gallery in the past but their new partnership is the most expansive to date. Earl A. Powell III, Director of the National Gallery of Art, said, “We are very pleased to be able to share works from the nation’s collection of modern art with visitors to the Corcoran while our East Building is closed for renovations. We have a history of lending works to the Corcoran, but the larger number of works addressed by this agreement and the increased length of their exhibition at the Corcoran makes this a new development in our long relationship.”

The National Gallery of Art is expected to close for renovations beginning next year.

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Ellsworth Kelly: Colored Paper Images is currently on view at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. through December 1, 2013. Kelly (b. 1923), a painter, printmaker, and sculptor, is best known for his hard-edge and Color Field paintings as well as for his involvement in the minimalist movement.

The exhibition at the National Gallery features a series of paper-pulp works that were first unveiled in 1977. The 23 works, which are drawn from the museum’s collection, feature erratic edges and irregular textures, a departure from Kelly’s previous works, which are comprised of sharp angles and precise curves. Earl A. Powell III, director of the National Gallery of Art said, “Kelly has long been recognized for his mastery of form and color, but even to those who know his work well, these Colored Paper Images will come as a revelation.”

A pioneering force in postwar abstraction, Kelly created his colored paper images by placing molds on single sheets of paper and filling them with colored and pressed paper pulp. Once the pulp settled, the molds were removed and the sheet along with the colored pulp was run through a printing press, fusing the damp paper layers together. Multiple impressions were made of each image.

The National Gallery of Art has a longstanding relationship with Kelly, which began in 1975 when the institution acquired its first work by the artist. The Gallery now owns over 200 pieces by Kelly including paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints.

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