The National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) is a national museum dedicated to the collection, research and exhibitions of modern and contemporary artistic works in China. In June 1963, Chairman Mao Zedong inscribed the Chinese-language title board of the museum, which demonstrated its position as a national art museum and the nature of its establishment. The main building features the styles of ancient Chinese attics and ethnic architecture, which is roofed with yellow glazed tiles and surrounded by corridors and pavilions.
The building covers an area of more than 18,000 square meters with 17 exhibition halls from the first floor to the fifth. The museum boasts an exhibition area of 8,300 square meters and a length of 2,110 meters. Nine halls on the first floor cover an area of 5,100 square meters and a length of 1,400 meters; five halls on the third floor have an area of 2,000 square meters and a length of 429 meters, and three halls on the fifth floor cover an area of 1,200 square meters and a length of 235 meters. A modern storeroom founded in 1995 covers an area of 4,100 square meters.
The museum houses more than 100,000 pieces of various collections, most of which are creations around the establishment of new China. Some collections are masterpieces from the late Ming Dynasty, the Qing Dynasty and the early Republic of China. Most collections are modern and contemporary works, including masterpieces of renowned contemporary Chinese artists, award-winning works from major art exhibitions, and various folk works. Included are such painters as Ren Bonian, Wu Changshuo, Huang Binhong, Qi Baishi, Xu Beihong, Jiang Zhaohe, Situ Qiao, Li Keran, Wu Zuoren, Ye Qianyu, Luo Gongliu and Wu Guanzhong. The museum also collects hundreds of foreign artistic works. German collectors Mr. and Mrs. Peter Ludwig donated 117 pieces of foreign works in 1999, including four oil paintings by Picasso.
The robust development of the museum benefits greatly from the support of the Central government and the direct leadership of the Ministry of Culture. The Central government established a special collection fund, which laid a solid foundation for the museum's collection of precious works. Quite a few collectors and artists donated their collections to the museum as an act of social responsibility and a strong belief in offering art to the masses, which provided rich resources for the collection. In recent years, the museum has constantly accepted ever-larger donations from such artists and their families as Li Pingfan, Liu Xun, Zhang Ding, Hua Junwu, Zao Wangyun, Tang Yihe, Hua Tianyou, Wen Lou, Wu Zuoren, Jin Shangyi, Wu Guanzhong
Over the past four decades, the museum has held thousands of influential exhibitions of different kinds featuring renowned artists from home and abroad. Apart from influential domestic exhibitions, numerous international exhibitions are as follows: "Original Works Exhibition of 500 Years Collected by Armand Hammer", "Rural Landscape Painting Exhibition of the 19th Century in France", "Original Works Exhibition of Pablo Picasso", "Engraved Painting Exhibition of German Expressionism", "Art Exhibition of Auguste Rodin", "Art Exhibition of Marc Chagall", "Oriental Spirit: Art Exhibition of Joan Miro", "Collection Exhibition of Austrian National Museum", "Grand Exhibition of African Art", "Art Exhibition of Salvador Dali", "Painting Exhibition of French Impressionism", "300 Years of Russian Arts--State-run Terichekov Fine Arts Museum Treasures Exhibition" (an important exhibition of "Year of Russia" in 2006), "Art in America 300 Years of Innovation", "Italian art- Italian life "(an important exhibition of "Year of Italy" in 2006) and "From Titian to Goya Masterpieces from the Prado Museum"(an important exhibition of "Year of Spain" in 2007). “The Lights of Dun Huang”, held in 2008, set three new records for the number of daily, monthly and singular visitors, attracting 660,000 visitors in two months. The museum has established itself as an important shrine of art bringing aesthetic education to the people.
In order to become a national modern museum with international standards, the museum began reconstruction of the main building in May 2002. A variety of facilities have achieved the national leading level after it was completed in May 2003, including exhibition halls, illumination, self-control, constant temperature and humidity, fire control and alarm, and security control system. The new museum has adopted new technology of modern construction, expanded the traditional pattern and enriched new connotations of the ethnic construction tradition. At its 40th anniversary on July 23, 2003, the museum reopened to the public and attracted great attention from artistic circles from home and abroad.
In line with the request of the national cultural construction, the museum has gained recognition from the State Council in its expansion, which has been enlisted in the national 11th five-year plan and is in good preparation.