Nearly 2,000 objects from the National Gallery's permanent collection of Western European and American art dating from the 12th century to the present go on view Feb. 3 in the recently remodeled ground floor of the West Building.
About 75,000 square feet in the west half of the ground floor, of which over 40,000 square feet was released by the opening of the East Building in 1978, will be used to display these works of art. Included will be sculpture, decorative arts, prints, drawings, and paintings.
Renovation of the West Building ground floor began in 1971 in conjunction with the design of the East Building by I.M. Pei. This involved alterations in the West Building's Fourth Street lobby.
The opening of a spine running the length of the West Building's ground floor became known as ''Operation Breakthrough'' and, together with the related ground floor remodeling, has been funded by the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust; Paul Mellon, son of the gallery's founder; the Kresge Foundation; and federal money.
Some objects will be on exhibit for the first time in many years.