Washington’s Corcoran Museum To Be Taken Over By National Gallery

Source: Bill Chappell, NPR, February 19, 2014

The oldest private art museum in Washington is poised to be taken over by the National Gallery of Art, according to a plan to disperse the museum’s holdings and turn its art college over to George Washington University. The plan was publicly unveiled Wednesday. … The museum’s interim director and president, Peggy Loar, sought to reassure the Corcoran’s fans that it would continue to have a presence — and she stressed that under the plan, its galleries would be open to all, free of charge….
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Corcoran Gallery of Art and college to be taken over by the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University
Source: David Montgomery, Washington Post, February 19, 2014

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 key components — artwork, historic building and school program — would be taken over by the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University, under a plan announced Wednesday afternoon.

George Washington would assume ownership of the landmark Beaux Arts home of the Corcoran near the White House, and the Corcoran College of Art & Design would become part of the university. George Washington would pay nothing for the building, but would be responsible for an estimated tens of millions of dollars in renovation costs. The college would retain its identity within the university, though degrees would be granted by the university.

The National Gallery would assume initial responsibility for the Corcoran’s 17,000 pieces of art, and after a period of study, would acquire a large fraction of them. The rest would be distributed to museums around the country, with priority given to institutions in the District. …

…The bold pronouncements came with an important asterisk. The three partners have a deadline of April 7 to set the details of the collaboration. Leaders of all three institutions said they were confident the deal would be done. Washington has heard this before. Last April, with near equal confidence, the Corcoran and the University of Maryland announced a memorandum of understanding to begin discussions on a collaboration that would save the Corcoran….Despite the changes, the Corcoran will continue as a non-profit organization pursuing the original mission set 145 years ago by William Corcoran: “Dedicated to art and encouraging American genius,” Corcoran leaders said. …