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100th Anniversary of Art of the National Academy of Sciences Building

April 1, 2024 - December 31, 2024

NAS Building, 2101 Constitution Ave., N.W., Upstairs Gallery

This year holds special significance for the NAS, as our beautiful building at 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, turns 100 years old. Dedicated by President Calvin Coolidge in April 1924 and designed by architect Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, the building’s architecture synthesizes classical elements with Goodhue’s preference for “irregular” forms. It harmoniously weaves together Hellenic, Byzantine, and Egyptian influences, as well as hints of Art Deco. This combination gives the building a modern aspect, which is consistent with Goodhue's statement that the building was meant to be a “modern and scientific building, built with modern and scientific materials, by modern and scientific methods for a modern and scientific set of clients.” 

Throughout the building, Goodhue enlisted artists Albert Herter, Lee Lawrie, and Hildreth Meière to create decorative details that represent the history of the NAS as well as the history and symbolism of science. The building itself marks the first time the institution engaged artists to reach a broader audience and to aid in establishing the importance of science in our nation’s history. Since its opening, the NAS Building’s architecture and decor have inspired other artists as well. This exhibition showcases pieces from the NAS art collection that celebrate the building’s aesthetic. It features work by Cheryl Goldsleger, Meière, Tony Orrico, Stephen Talasnik, and James Perry Wilson, among others.

This is one of two exhibitions organized in celebration of the NAS Building’s centennial. Explore this website dedicated to the anniversary.

Image: James Perry Wilson, The Academy by Moonlight, 1925, oil on canvas, 28.25 x 34.25 inches.

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