On Monday, October 26, galleries east of the Rotunda on the West Building’s Main Floor will reopen to the public for the first time since March 13. These spaces feature 18th- and 19th-century French paintings and sculpture as well as works by British and American artists. Select Ground Floor galleries will remain open, as will the temporary exhibition True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870, which closes on November 15. On November 16 additional Main Floor galleries west of the Rotunda will reopen, including those showcasing Italian Renaissance and Dutch and Flemish masterpieces. Subsequent reopening dates for the rest of the campus will be announced in November.
“We are thrilled for visitors to enjoy even more of the Gallery’s collection in person,” said Kaywin Feldman, director of the National Gallery of Art. “Rotating which galleries are open allows us to diversify the works of art on view to the public while maintaining safety measures for visitors and staff. I know that visitors are eager to reunite with some of their favorite masterpieces. Our phased approach has been successful thus far and tells us that it’s time to expand our offerings.”
The Sculpture Garden will remain open throughout the winter but will not host an ice rink this year. The East Building, where construction projects are underway, will remain closed until spring 2021.
The Gallery will continue to open daily from 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., and free, timed passes are required for entry to the West Building. All current health and safety guidelines—including requirements for facial coverings, social distancing, credit card payment, and enhanced cleanings—will remain in place. See below for specific information regarding each phase of reopening.
Through October 25: Select Ground Floor Galleries Open
The Ground Floor galleries that have been open since July 20 remain open except for those featuring Degas at the Opéra, which closed on October 12. Dining and retail offerings are located on the Ground Floor and Concourse; see below for more details.
October 26–November 15: Ground Floor and East Main Floor Open
The galleries opening on October 26 are east of the Rotunda on the Main Floor and showcase 18th- and 19th-century French paintings and sculpture as well as works by British and American artists. Highlights include impressionist masterpieces by Mary Cassatt, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh; American portraits, landscapes, and genre scenes, such as John Singleton Copley’s Watson and the Shark (1778) and Augustus Saint Gaudens’s large-scale sculpture Shaw Memorial (1900); a gallery of 18th- and 19th-century works by Spanish artist Francisco de Goya; and the recently acquired monumental Alpine Mastiffs Reanimating a Distressed Traveler (1820) by British artist Sir Edwin Landseer. In addition, the Gallery’s ongoing public conservation project in the East Sculpture Hall will continue, offering visitors the chance to watch a conservator finish the treatment of Jean-Pierre-Antoine Tassaert’s Painting and Sculpture (1774/1778) and begin work on Clodion’s Poetry and Music (c. 1774/1778).
While the Ground Floor will remain open during this period, a suite of galleries dedicated to European and American sculpture will close. The temporary exhibition True to Nature: Open-Air Painting in Europe, 1780–1870 will be on view through November 15.
The Gallery will continue to have one main entrance at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. In addition to the two current exits—one at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW and one and at 7th Street NW—two additional exits will become available at 4th Street NW and at the Main Floor exit to the National Mall.
Free, timed passes for the week of October 26 will become available on Monday, October 19, at 10:00 a.m. Click here for a map of West Building galleries and amenities that will be open from October 26 to November 15.
November 16: Additional Main Floor Galleries Open; Ground Floor Closes
The additional galleries opening on November 16 are located off the West Sculpture Hall and are home to paintings and sculpture from the Gallery’s Italian Renaissance and northern baroque collections. Highlights include Leonardo da Vinci’s Ginevra de’ Benci (c. 1474/1478), the only painting by Leonardo in the Americas; important Florentine and Sienese sculptures from the 14th and 15th centuries; and Dutch maritime paintings, landscapes, and portraits, such as Judith Leyster’s Self-Portrait (c. 1630), a gallery of works by Rembrandt van Rijn, and several paintings by Johannes Vermeer, which will be relocated from their current location to a larger gallery to allow for social distancing.
The galleries that will remain temporarily closed at the west end of the building showcase works of Italian Renaissance and baroque art, including Giovanni Bellini and Titian’s The Feast of the Gods and Raphael’s The Alba Madonna, as well as French, Spanish, Flemish, and Netherlandish art from the 15th through 18th centuries. The Gallery will announce reopening dates for these galleries later this fall.
At this time, all Ground Floor galleries will close to the public. The West Building Shop will remain open, as will all dining and retail offerings on the Concourse. All entrances and exits will remain the same except for the 7th Street exit, which will close. Click here for a map of West Building galleries and amenities that will be open beginning November 16.
West Building Amenities
Amenities that are currently open on the Concourse will continue to provide a safe and engaging dining and retail experience. The Espresso & Gelato Bar offers a selection of gourmet, prepacked salads and sandwiches, bottled beverages, and made-to-order coffee beverages, as well as seasonal gelato flavors. In the Gallery Shops, visitors will find a full selection of gifts, books, and items for children, as well as a new selection of merchandise, such as face masks featuring works from the permanent collection. In addition, the West Building Shop on the Ground Floor hosts a wide variety of clearance items with savings of 50–90%. The café and shops only accept credit or debit cards. Free, timed passes are required for West Building entry, including for all amenities.
Ice Rink Season Cancelation
For the first time since it opened the Sculpture Garden in 1999, the Gallery will not operate the ice rink for the 2020–2021 season due to ongoing logistical complications and health and safety concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gallery’s ability to provide a safe experience was one concern, but the installation of the ice rink shed, which was scheduled to be replaced this year, has also been delayed due to closures and production interruptions at vendors across the country who are providing the construction materials and labor.
The Sculpture Garden will continue to open from 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. daily, as will the Pavilion Café, which serves freshly made salads, sandwiches, and flatbreads and an array of beverages. Both indoor and outdoor seating are available.
Resources for Reopening
The Gallery’s reopening approach is guided by ReOpen DC, which was created by a 250-member advisory group to Mayor Bowser; the White House’s and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts; and the Public Health Principles for a Phased Reopening During COVID-19: Guidance for Governors, which was published by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and which specifically discusses museums and other facilities similar to the Gallery. The Gallery’s approach also incorporates recommendations from the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Management and Budget, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the neighboring governmental jurisdictions of Maryland and Virginia. The Gallery actively seeks and incorporates updated guidance from these sources.
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