WASHINGTON (AFP).- The oldest and largest private museum in Washington, the financially troubled Corcoran Gallery of Art, will be taken over by the government-backed National Gallery of Art under a proposal announced Wednesday.
In a joint statement, the two cultural institutions said they were in talks that envision the National Gallery of Art assuming initial responsibility for the Corcoran's priceless collection of some 17,000 works of art.
The museum's 19th century premises just steps from the White House -- and in need of major renovations -- would meanwhile go to George Washington University, which would also take over the Corcoran College of Art and Design.
The proposal aims to keep the Corcoran open to the public and its collection -- featuring works by Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Edward Hopper and Willem de Kooning -- in the US capital.
"The Corcoran's great cultural, educational and civic resources that are at the heart of this city will not only remain in Washington but will become stronger, more exciting and more widely accessible," said the Corcoran's interim director and president Peggy Loar.
"All of us at the National Gallery of Art are excited at the prospect of working with the Corcoran and George Washington University in a unique collaboration that ensures the Corcoran legacy, keeps the core collection in the nation's capital and offers great opportunities for exhibitions of contemporary art and programming," said Earl A. Powell III, Director, National Gallery of Art.
"The George Washington University will work with the Corcoran to create a world-class arts education program in close affiliation with the National Gallery of Art. Such a program, situated in this iconic Washington landmark, will offer unparalleled opportunities for students and scholars, and provide a powerful new focus for the arts in the heart of the nation's capital," said GW President Steven Knapp.
Founded by banker William Corcoran in 1869, the museum has been grappling with deficits for years, prompting talk that it might relocate to a larger, less expensive venue.
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