What's On

Four portraits in a darkened gallery showing people underwater

Current Exhibitions

  • Young soldier in fatigues looking tired and worn and directly at the camera

    The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now

    April 7, 2017 - January 28, 2018
    First floor

    The Face of Battle: Americans at War, 9/11 to Now explores and assesses the human costs of ongoing wars through portraiture. The exhibition title is drawn from John Keegan’s classic military history, which reorients our view of war from questions of strategy and tactics to its personal and individual toll.

    Image: Afghanistan, Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, 2007. Lieutenant Piosa / Tim Hetherington / 2007 (printed 2016), Pigmented inkjet print / Courtesy Tim Hetherington Trust

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  • plaster sculpture of an 18th century man (George Washington)

    America’s Presidents Temporary Installation

    March 24, 2017 - September 4, 2017
    Second floor

    While the regular gallery space is being refurbished and updated, “America’s Presidents” will be temporarily installed in the west gallery on the second floor through Sept. 4.

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  • hree women in a  darkened room

    Bill Viola: The Moving Portrait

    November 18, 2016 - May 7, 2017

    This exhibition reveals Viola’s constant, yet previously unrecognized, thematic interest in portraiture. “Bill Viola and the Moving Portrait” offers a selection of Viola’s works that focus on the face and the body, using his signature metaphors of water, light and spirituality.

    Image:  Three Women / Bill Viola / 2008, Color High-Definition video on plasma display mounted vertically on wall / 9:06 minutes / Bill Viola Studio / Performers: Anika, Cornelia, Helena Ballent / © Bill Viola

     

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  • Babe Ruth and other Red Sox pitchers by Underwood & Underwood (active 1880 - c. 1950) / Gelatin paper print, 1915 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

    One Life: Babe Ruth

    June 24, 2016 - May 21, 2017
    First floor

    This exhibition examines Babe Ruth as a baseball legend and the marketing frenzy his name and image fueled before the commercialization of sports superstars became routine.

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  • Double Take: Daguerreian Portrait Pairs

    June 17, 2016 - June 4, 2017
    First floor

    Highlighting the depth of the National Portrait Gallery’s early photography collection, this exhibition will showcase fourteen daguerreotypes—two portraits each—of seven subjects: George Bancroft, Jenny Lind, Zachary Taylor, Frederick Douglass, Jefferson Davis, Daniel Webster, and John Quincy Adams.

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  • Formal photographic portrait of Phineas Barnum

    Lincoln's Contemporaries

    May 13, 2016 - May 19, 2019
    First floor, Meserve Corridor

    Who were Abraham Lincoln’s contemporaries? They included many fascinating people beyond the politicians and military leaders of the Civil War.

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Permanent Exhibitions

  • Painted portrait of Bill and Melinda Gates in their home, lake in the background

    20th Century Americans

    Ongoing
    Third floor

    Four galleries off of the museum’s magnificent third-floor Great Hall, showcase the major cultural and political hallmarks of the 20th and 21st centuries.

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  • Portrait of Abraham Lincoln sitting and with hand on chin

    America's Presidents

    Ongoing (closed for renovation from Feb. 26 through March 23, 2017)
    Second floor

    The nation’s only complete collection of presidential portraits outside the White House, this exhibition lies at the heart of the Portrait Gallery’s mission to tell the American story through the individuals who have shaped it.

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  • Portrait of Meryl Pocahontas

    American Origins

    Ongoing
    First floor

    A “conversation about America” is on view in a series of 17 galleries and alcoves chronologically arranged to take the visitor from the days of contact between Native Americans and European explorers through the struggles of independence to the Gilded Age.

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  • Painted portrait of Ethel Merman in a cowgirl outfit with a rifle slung over her shoulder

    Bravo!

    Ongoing
    Third floor mezzanine

    BRAVO! showcases individuals who have brought the performing arts to life, beginning with P.T. Barnum, who raised the curtain on modern entertainment in the late-19th century and continuing through the present.

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  • Dempsey-Willard Fight Jack Dempsey and Jess Willard Artist: James Montgomery Flagg  1944 Oil on canvas

    Champions

    Ongoing
    Third floor mezzanine

    “Champions” salutes dynamic American sports figures whose impact beyond the athletic realm made them part of the larger story of the nation. A lively combination of portraits, artifacts, memorabilia and videos enhances the exhibition.

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  • Chlld stacking blocks -- each block has a photograph of part of someone's face.

    Explore! with the National Portrait Gallery

    Open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
    First floor

    The National Portrait Gallery opens its first-ever space dedicated to children. In Explore! kids can experiment with portraiture hands-on to answer questions such as “What is a portrait?” “How do I see myself?” and “How do others see me?”

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  • Sculpture of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney

    Jo Davidson: Biographer in Bronze

    Ongoing
    Second Floor

    Fourteen portraits in bronze and terra-cotta made by renowned American sculptor Jo Davidson between 1908 and 1946 are on view. These include depictions of Gertrude Stein, Franklin D. Roosevelt, artist John Marin, and Lincoln Steffens.

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  • Oil painting of woman with red scarf

    Recent Acquisitions

    Ongoing, current display on view through October 30, 2017
    First floor

    This annual exhibition features 29 objects that showcase some of the newest additions to the museum’s collection.

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  • The "Four Justices Painting" by Nelson Shanks

    The Four Justices

    Ongoing
    Second floor

    The National Portrait Gallery celebrated the arrival of Nelson Shanks’s The Four Justices, a tribute to the four female justices who have served on the U.S. Supreme Court.

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  • Portrait of Rosa Parks

    The Struggle for Justice

    Ongoing
    Second floor

    “The Struggle for Justice” showcases the determined men and women—from key nineteenth-century historical figures to contemporary leaders—who struggled to achieve civil rights for disenfranchised or marginalized groups.

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