The National Gallery of Art was created for the people of the U.S. in 1937 by an act of Congress when they accepted a big gift from Andrew W. Mellon. He donated old master paintings, sculpture and a building to be constructed on the National Mall. Opened to the public in 1941, the building was at the time the largest marble structure in the world.
Mellon hoped that his gift would spark similar gifts and so it did. And the generosity continues today.
One of my favorite places is the gallery that houses works by Alexander Calder who shook up the modern art world with his three-dimensional figures in space. He is well-known for the invention of the mobile, whose parts drift together in comfortable harmony.
Here is a herd of his animobiles, a term coined by his wife, to describe his imaginative menagerie created in the seventies.