The National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) is a national art museum of plastic arts dedicated to collection, research and exhibitions of modern and contemporary artistic works in China. Starting to be built in 1958, NAMOC, with its title board inscribed by Chairman Mao Zedong, was formally open to the public in 1963. NAMOC is a national cultural landmark after foundation of New China. The main building, roofed with yellow glazed tiles and surrounded by corridors and pavilions, features the styles of ancient Chinese attics and traditional architecture. The building, with 17 exhibition halls in its 5 stories, covers an area of more than 18,000 square meters. The museum boasts an exhibition area of 8,300 square meters. A modern collection 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 representative works of different periods and great artworks of Chinese art masters from the end of the 19th century till today, constituting art development history since the beginning of modern China. Collections also include some ancient paintings and calligraphy works, foreign artistic works as well as plentiful folk art works. The museum collects works of many great artists such as Ren Bonian, Wu Changshuo, Huang Binhong, Qi Baishi, Xu Beihong, Liu Haisu, Jiang Zhaohe, Situ Qiao, Li Keran, Wu Zuoren, Ye Qianyu, Dong Xiwen, 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 to NAMOC in 1999, including 4 oil paintings of Picasso.
The robust development of NAMOC benefits greatly from the support of the central government and the direct leadership of Ministry of Culture. The government established a special collection fund, which laid a solid foundation for the museum's collection of art treasure. Quite a few collectors and artists donated their collections to the State out of their social responsibility and strong belief in “art serving the people”, which contributes to rich collections of NAMOC. In recent years, the museum has constantly accepted donations from artists or their family members, including Li Pingfan, Liu Xun, Zhang Ding, Hua Junwu, Zao Wangyun, Tang Yihe, Hua Tianyou, Wen Lou, Wu Zuoren, Jin Shangyi, Wu Guanzhong, Li Qun and Qin Xuanfu.
Since its establishment, the museum has held thousands of various influential exhibitions, which not only reflect development and prosperity of Chinese art but also provide an important platform of artistic exchange between China and the world. The museum attracts over one million visitors each year. Large exhibitions，curated and organized independently by NAMOC, include “Selected Masterpieces from Ten Art Museums in China”, “Walking from Yan’an-Art Exhibition to Commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Publishing of Comrade Mao Zedong’s Talks at the Yan'an Forum on Art and Literature”, “Century Development? Inspiring Painting -Arts Painting Exhibition for Centennial Anniversary of the Revolution of 1911”, “Glory Course ? Age Scene —Art Works to Celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Foundation of CPC”, “Donations from the National Art Museum of China in the Past Five Decades”, “International New Media Art Exhibition” and so on. Apart from influential nation-wide exhibitions, influential international exhibitions are as follows: “From Titian To Goya— Great Masters of the Museo de Prado”, “Italian art—Italian life ”,“Art in America 300 Years–Adaptation and Innovation”, “300 Years of Russian Arts—National Terichekov Fine Arts Museum Masterpieces Exhibition”, “French Impressionism Masterpieces Exhibition”, “Midsummer France—Beijing”, "Collection Exhibition of Austrian National Museum" and so on . All these exhibitions have great impact on the society.
The museum has established itself as an important shrine of art， bringing aesthetic education to the people. In order to provide better cultural service for the public, NAMOC was the first museum in China to establish Public Education Department and to organize interns and volunteers to participate in public cultural education. Moreover, the museum enhances public education programs, innovates service and develops NAMOC into a cultural homeland. In recent years, through organizing various kinds of public education activities, the museum has directly served nearly one million visitors. In addition, to keep up with development of information technology, NAMOC focuses on expanding public service contents and means through its website and “digital museum” project. Over the past 9 years, the museum has upgraded its official website for 3 times and set up over 10 art databases, which have increasingly become a platform of releasing, searching and sharing art information, with which the public can appreciate artistic works, visit art exhibition, get to know art news and learn art knowledge.
In May 2002, the museum began to restore its main building. A variety of facilities have achieved the national top level after it was completed in May 2003, including exhibition hall facilities, lighting and illumination, building-automation, constant temperature and humidity control, fire control & alarm and security control system. To meet requirements of national cultural development, the construction of the new venue of NAMOC has received high attention from the government. At present, the international bidding for architectural design has finished and the design proposal is now being refined and optimized. All preparatory works are also underway.
NAMOC’s incumbent Director is Wu Weishan. Secretary of Party Committee is You Qingqiao. Executive Deputy Director is Ma Shulin, Deputy Directors Zhang Zikang, Xie Xiaofan, Hu Wei, An Yuanyuan.