A few years ago it was announced that the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington’s oldest private art museum, and its venerable college of art and design would cease to exist as an independent institution, and its components — artwork, historic building and school program — will be taken over by the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University.
John Fulton Folinsbee’s “Grey Thaw,” one of the works in the Corcoran’s collection. (Corcoran Gallery of Art’s board of trustees )
This week it was announced that the Corcoran’s board of trustees has decided that it will distribute almost 11,000 works remaining in its renowned collection, a historic giveaway that includes paintings by Washington Color School artist Sam Gilliam, photographs by Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange, and prints by 19th-century French master Honoré Daumier.
Almost 9,000 pieces will go to the American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center, with others headed to 10 Smithsonian Institution museums, several universities and the U.S. Supreme Court.
The distribution marks the final stage of the dismantling of the famed Washington institution. Under a controversial 2014 deal, the National Gallery of Art had first dibs on the entire collection and ended up acquiring about 40 percent of the 19,493 works. George Washington University gained control of the museum’s independent school and its two historic buildings, including the Flagg Building on 17th Street NW.
For more, please see these sources: