Earl A. Powell III, director, and Franklin Kelly, deputy director and chief curator, National Gallery of Art
, announced today that 6,430 works of art have been selected initially from more than 17,000 Corcoran works in the Gallery's custody to join the nation's collection of European and American art. As curators continue to review the collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the newly accessioned objects will have an immediate impact across NGA's collections and will be particularly transformative for its holdings of American art in all media.
"This is an historic moment for the National Gallery of Art, which has an important responsibility as a steward of the renowned Corcoran collection," said Powell. "We look forward to bringing this art to a larger audience, creating myriad new experiences for learning and enjoyment. The success of this continuing endeavor is dependent on the knowledge and hard work of many dedicated staff. We are all deeply grateful for the support of our trustees, colleagues, and friends."
"Our selection of works," said Kelly, "is based on criteria such as aesthetic considerations, art historical importance, and relevance to the areas in which we collect. The acquisitions range widely, filling gaps and delivering significant depth and breadth. As the review of the Corcoran collection continues, we are only beginning to realize the many ways in which the Gallery will be able to tell a more comprehensive narrative of American and European art history."
According to Harry Hopper, the Corcoran's chairman, "The first priority of the Corcoran trustees was the preservation of the Corcoran's collection, college, iconic building, and legacy. The National Gallery of Art's initial accessioning of our works into their collection is an important step toward ensuring the legacy of the Corcoran and its renowned collection for generations to come. There is still much work to be done and we look forward to our continuing collaborative efforts with the National Gallery."
New Installations, Integration, and Distribution of Art
From February 6 through May 3, 2015, the National Gallery of Art presents two installations in its West Building: American Masterworks from the Corcoran, 18151940 on the main floor and Focus on the Corcoran: Works on Paper, 18601990 on the ground floor. An exhibition of photographs from both the Corcoran and NGA collections is scheduled for spring 2016 in the West Building photography galleries.
Beginning in the summer of 2015 and continuing for several months, paintings will be integrated into the American galleries on the main floor of the West Building. This effort will continue into other galleries through 2016, when the East Building galleries reopen. Admission to the National Gallery of Art is free of charge every day of the week.
NGA officials will assist the Trustees of the Corcoran in their distribution of the non-accessioned works to eligible cultural institutions in Washington, D.C., in accordance with the process approved by the Attorney General of the District of Columbia.
Agreements, Renovations, Exhibitions, and Availability of Works and Images
On August 18, 2014, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design, the George Washington University (GW), and the National Gallery of Art received approval from the District of Columbia Superior Court to implement their agreements that were first announced in February 2014. The court's ruling permits the parties to proceed with the transfer of ownership of the Corcoran's historic 17th Street building and the College of Art + Design to GW and custody of the art collection to the National Gallery of Art.
NGA's plan for exhibitions in the second floor galleries of the Corcoran's Flagg Building is dependent on GW's construction schedule. It will take NGA approximately one year to update and refurbish the floors, walls, lighting, and skylights, and to install the first exhibition in the second floor galleries. Boundary Markers: Outliers and Mainstream American Art and Rachel Whiteread are among the shows planned for 2017 and 2018.
Corcoran works entering the National Gallery of Art's collection bear the credit line, "Corcoran Collection," plus the historic donor or other appropriate Corcoran credit line, and will eventually be published on the website at www.nga.gov. A complete list of all 6,430 acquisitions from the Corcoran collection as of January 30, 2015, is available online as a PDF file in the National Gallery of Art's online press kit at http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/press/2015/nga-corcoran-announcements.html
As works are digitized in high resolution―many for the first time―they will be made available for public use free of charge in accordance with NGA's open access policies at NGA Images―images.nga.gov―a state-of-the-art image repository of works in the collection.
Accessioned works that are not on view or undergoing conservation study and treatment will be safely stored and made available for loan in accordance with NGA standards. NGA continues to honor all previous loan commitments made by the Corcoran.
The National Gallery of Art will continue and expand public accessibility to the Corcoran collection of prints, drawings, and watercolors (collectively, works on paper), as well as photographs. They will become available for viewing by members of the public in NGA's study rooms on weekdays. Once an announcement has been made, anyone may make an appointment to see specified works in the Gallery's study rooms by calling (202) 842-6605 for American works on paper, (202) 842-6380 for European works on paper, and (202) 842-6144 for photographs.
No works of art will be sold. A plan for distribution of the works not accessioned by the National Gallery of Art to Washington-area institutions was approved by the D.C. Superior Court. The Corcoran is responsible for distribution and NGA will assist in the administration and provide advice on cultural institutions where the works will receive optimum care, study, and maximum public accessibility.