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The Café, the Explore Family Space and Courtyard will be closed Sunday, Nov. 17 in preparation for a special event. The museums will close at 5:00 pm, at which point visitors will be directed to exit through the building’s F street lobby. The G street exit and ramp will remain accessible to those who need it. We apologize for any inconvenience.

R. Buckminster Fuller

Boris Artzybasheff, 1899 - 16 Jul 1965
Buckminster Fuller, Jr., 12 Jul 1895 - 1 Jul 1983
Tempera on board
Sight: 43.2 x 31.1cm (17 x 12 1/4")
Frame: 74.9 x 59.7 x 3.2cm (29 1/2 x 23 1/2 x 1 1/4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine
Restrictions & Rights
© Boris Artzybasheff
Object number
Exhibition Label
Born Milton, Massachusetts
Although not an accredited architect, Buckminster Fuller was best known for his many experiments in building design and his philosophy of architecture. Adhering to his "dymaxion" principle, which called for maximum results from a minimum of material and energy, he was an early advocate of prefabrication and modular construction. The most famous of Fuller's achievements was the geodesic dome, which artist Boris Artzybasheff wittily depicts here as the structure of Fuller's face and skull. Patented in 1947, this spherical structure required no internal support, thus creating an unobstructed interior space. In 1967, one of Fuller's domes served as the United States pavilion at the world exposition in Montreal, where it became a symbol of America's tradition in technical innovation.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection