Origins and Development
The National Gallery of Art was administered by the US National Museum from 1907 until 1920, when Congress granted the gallery enough funds to become a separate Smithsonian bureau. William Henry Holmes, Chief of the Bureau of American Ethnology, 1902-1909, and Head Curator of the Department of Anthropology, 1910-1920, held the position of Curator of the National Gallery of Art, 1907-1920. When the gallery became a separate bureau in 1920, Holmes resigned his position with the National Museum and became the first director of the gallery. In 1937, the National Gallery of Art had its name changed to the National Collection of Fine Arts (NCFA), when the old name was assigned to the collection donated by Andrew W. Mellon to the United States. In 1980, NCFA was renamed the National Museum of American Art, and in 2000 it was renamed the Smithsonian American Art Museum. More than seven thousand artists are represented in the collection, including major masters, such as John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Childe Hassam, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O'Keeffe, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, Helen Frankenthaler, Christo, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Lee Friedlander, Nam June Paik, Martin Puryear, and Robert Rauschenberg.
In 1972, the Museum gained additional gallery space with the acquisition of the Renwick Gallery. The Renwick is located in the old Corcoran Gallery of Art Building which was designed by architect James Renwick, Jr., who also designed the Smithsonian's Castle. The Renwick Gallery is devoted to American crafts. In 1981, the Fine Arts and Portrait Galleries building was renamed the American Art and Portrait Galleries.
- Chronology of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Bibliography of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Historic Images of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Smithsonian American Art Museum Records from the Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Historic Picture Highlights of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
- Additional Records and Collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum Across the Smithsonian