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National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden

Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC

Phone: (202) 842-6353 - Tty: -

Statement of Purpose

On May 23, 1999 the National Gallery of Art opened a dynamic outdoor sculpture garden designed to offer year-round enjoyment to the public in one of the preeminent locations on the National Mall. The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is given to the nation by The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.

The landscaping of the 6.1-acre space provides a distinctive setting for nearly twenty major works, including important new acquisitions of post-World War II sculpture by such internationally renowned artists as Louise Bourgeois, Mark di Suvero, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, and Tony Smith. The Sculpture Garden is located at Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., in the block adjacent to the West Building.

"We are proud to bring to the nation these significant works of sculpture in one of the few outdoor settings of this magnitude in the country," said Earl A. Powell Ill, director, National Gallery of Art. "The opening of the Sculpture Garden brings to fruition part of a master plan to revitalize the National Mall that has been in development for more than thirty years. The National Gallery is extremely grateful to the Cafritz Foundation for making this historic event possible.

Visitors will be able to enjoy a reflecting pool and fountain in the center of the Garden during the summer months and an ice skating rink in winter. Spacious walking and seating areas will give viewers a chance to rest and reflect on the works of sculpture amid the rich, textural settings composed of native American species of canopy trees, flowering trees, shrubs, groundcovers, and perennials. The renovated pavilion will offer year-round caf 6 service (beginning mid-summer 1999), along with indoor and outdoor seating.

"In memory of my parents, Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz, I am delighted we are able to be part of the Sculpture Garden, which will provide a forum for a variety of cultural and educational programs, as well as a refuge and oasis for the many thousands of visitors who come to the Mall, and for the residents of the greater metropolitan area, said Calvin Cafritz, chairman of the Cafritz Foundation.


The design of the Sculpture Garden addresses the importance of the Eighth Street axis line that was part of Pierre L'Enfant's master plan for Washington by providing an entrance on the Mall from Madison Drive and a clear sight line along this imaginary line. The garden is enclosed by a decorative metal fence with marble piers and plinths, designed to reflect the historic character of the West Building. The stone used for the gateway plinths, constructed to articulate the six public entryways to the garden, matches the marble of both the Gallery's West and East Buildings. The granite base beneath the decorative metal fence is the same size and composed of the same material as the raised curb that surrounds the West Building's grounds. The Sculpture Garden is accessible to visitors with disabilities.

In August, 1991, the National Park Service and the National Gallery of Art signed an agreement, which was approved by the National Capital Planning Commission, transferring jurisdiction over the Sculpture Garden site from the Park Service to the National Gallery.

The design for the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden was created by Laurie D. Olin, landscape architect, Olin Partnership, in association with key members of the National Gallery staff: Earl A. Powell Ill, director; Mark Leithauser, chief of design; Gordon Anson, chief lighting designer; James Grupe, senior architect; Carl Campioli, assistant senior architect, and Donald Hand, chief of horticulture. The art was selected by the Gallery's director Powell; Alan Shestack, deputy director; Marla Prather and Mark Rosenthal, the current and former curators of twentieth-century art. Construction on the site was completed by the Chas H. Tompkins Company.

Exhibits & Special Events


The works, ranging in size from forty-two inches to more than twenty-seven feet high, and weighing as much as eight tons, will be installed in flexible spaces to accommodate a variety of works from the Gallery's growing twentieth-century sculpture collection, as well as those on loan for special exhibitions. Major new acquisitions, including several recently completed works, will be installed for the first time. In addition to the garden, seven of the ten new acquisitions were donated by The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation:

The National Gallery is grateful to individual donors who have made possible the acquisition of three works, listed as follows:

Sculpture from the Gallery's twentieth-century collection that will be installed in the garden include David Smith's Cubi XXVI (1965); Joel Shapiro's Untitled (1989); Joan Miro's Personnage Gothique, Oiseau-Eclair (1974. cast 1977); lsamu Noguchi's Great Rock of Inner Seeking (1974); and Scott Burton's Six-Part Seating (1985/1998), a group of polished red granite seats that will be displayed for the first time. Also on view courtesy of the Calder Foundation will be one of Alexander Calder's works, Cheval Rouge (Red Horse) (1974), a bold red sculpture made of painted sheet metal fabricated by skilled technicians and metalworkers at the Biemont Foundry in Tours, France.


Admission & Directions:

The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is located on the National Mall at Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W.


The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden ice skating rink will reopen on November 15, 2000, through March 15, 2001, weather permitting.

The rink’s sleek, modern design with clear glass dasher boards creates an open vista throughout the garden and offers skaters the unique experience of viewing magnificent works of sculpture.

A state-of-the-art compact disc music system, with twenty-four speakers installed on light poles encircling the rink, provides uniform sound to skaters, without distracting other visitors to the garden.

The hours for the ice skating rink are

Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.;
Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.;
Sunday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.


Weekday, Adults $5.00
Weekend, Adults $5.50 (Saturday and Sunday)

Weekday, Students $4.00 (children and students with student ID)
Weekend, Student $4.50 (Saturday and Sunday)

Weekday, Seniors $4.00 (age 50 and over)
Weekend, Seniors $4.50 (Saturday and Sunday)

There is a $2.50 fee for skate rental and use of lockers.

The new Pavilion Café will serve specialty pizzas, sandwiches, salads, desserts, fresh-baked goods, coffee, hot chocolate, and beer and wine. There is a special menu for children. Refreshments and light fare are also available from carts on the café patios.

The National Gallery of Art and Sculpture Garden are closed on December 25 and January 1. For general information, call (202) 737-4215, the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) at (202) 8426176, or visit the National Gallery of Art’s Web site at


Key Personnel:

Earl E. Powell III, Director 

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