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Sartle reviewed works from National Gallery of Art Washington DCview all
Love open spaces, clean lines, or just need a place to breath and find a bit of peace in the nation's capital? You'll love I.M. Pei's East Wing of the National Gallery.
You can't have all that open space and lots of art too. Here the architect rules, one I.M. PEI, creator of the Lourve pyramid.
In the atrium, a giant 920-lb. Calder mobile floats from the ceiling. But it's difficult to appreciate the wonderful forms because of the mishmash of skylights directly above it.
And so it is with the 15-ton (really!) Henry Moore sculpture adjacent to the entrance. The elderly Moore wanted it out in front, unobstructed by the building. The last thing Pei wanted was a 17-foot bronze sculpture to compete with his design, so he pushed it under the overhang. The architect rules.
The National Gallery is a family project. The West Wing was completed in 1937 with big bucks from Andrew Mellon – one of the ten wealthiest men in the United States at that time. Then in 1978 Mellon's son Paul and daughter Ailsa Mellon Bruce funded the construction of the East Wing.
PEI unites the two very different buildings by using the same pink marble of the West Wing exterior for that of its eastern counterpart. Unfortunately, the exterior of the building suffered structural failure and had to be totally rebuilt 30 years later. Oops! Ruling architect messes up.