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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Watercolors, photographs, rare books open at the National Gallery of Art

Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., curator, Northern Baroque paintings, National Gallery of Art, discusses Sir Peter Paul Ruben's Pan Reclining (possibly 1610) in the Print Study Room, East Building, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C./photo by Patricia Leslie

Guests are welcome to visit the Print Study Rooms at the National Gallery of Art to view and study rare books, prints, drawings, watercolors, photographs, images, and more.

All that are required are an advance appointment (some, two weeks ahead) and that a person be 18 years of age or older, or accompanied by an adult. 

Some 117,000 works from the 12th century through contemporary times by Europeans like Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer,
Rembrandt van Rijn, and M.C. Escher are found in the East Building Print Study Room while the Americans, John James Audubon, James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Romare Bearden, Jasper Johns, and many more, are found
in the West Building Print Study Room.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), Lion, c. 1612-1613 on display in the Print Study Room, East Building, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

In the photography collection are some 15,000 works beginning in 1839 to the present by, among many, Paul Strand, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Robert Adams, Alfred Stieglitz and his "Key Set" of 1,600 photographs from the 1880s through the 1930s, with 330 portraits of his wife, Georgia O'Keeffe.
The library has more than 400,000 volumes of Western art history, architecture, and criticism which begin with the Middle Ages.  Giorgio Vasari’s Lives of the Artists and serials by Dada artists are among the collection of 10,000 rare books, travel literature, annotated catalogues, price lists, and books about artists.

One of the rare books in the East Building's Print Study Room at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Lucius Annaeus Seneca (Roman author), Justus Lipsius (editor), Cornelis Galle I and Theodor Galle (engravers) after Sir Peter Paul Rubens (designer):  L. Annaei Senecae Philosophi Opera, quae extant omnia:  A lusto Lipsio Emendata et Scholiis Illustrata, Editio Secunda, atque ab ultima Lipsii manu, 1615/photo by Patricia Leslie

The library's images department has almost 14 million photographs, slides, negatives, digital copies, and more of primarily Western art and architecture from European and American art dealers, scholars, and international expositions.

To save time, search the online collection before calling for an appointment. The National Gallery staff will be happy to help.

What:  View, research, and study photographs, watercolors, images, rare books, and many other media.

Where:  National Gallery of Art between Third and Seventh streets at Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. On the Mall. 

When:  Print and Photograph Study Rooms:  10 a.m. - 12 p.m., and 2 - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday

Library and Images: 12 - 4:30 p.m., Monday, and 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday

For an appointment at the Print Study Rooms, call
(202) 842-6380 (European works), or (202) 842-6605 (American works), or email

To make an appointment at the Photography Study Room, call (202) 842-6144 or fill out the online form.

To make an appointment at the Library, call (202) 842-6511.

To make an appointment at Images, call (202) 842-6026 or fill out the online form.

No charge to visit, view, research, read.

Metro stations: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Navy Memorial-Archives, or L'Enfant Plaza

For more information: 202-737-4215 


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