Thursday, October 22

More About the Corcoran Gallery of Art

Today’s Image
17th St. & New York Ave.
Washington, D.C.

In the last OrbisPlanis art blog I told you about my visit to an exhibit of John Singer Sargent’s artwork at the Corcoran art gallery in Washington, D.C. I thought the exhibit would have primarily his watercolors since that is what I thought he was most famous for; however, I learned that he also produced a whole lot of other art using graphite, gouache, and oil.

I also learned more about the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the official name, about which I knew nothing.

For example, I knew the gallery’s address in downtown D.C., but I didn’t realize how close it is to the White House and other executive offices, and it’s only a couple of blocks from the Mall. That means if you’re visiting Washington as a tourist, you should also include a visit the Corcoran since it’s right in the middle of all the popular tourist spots.

I had passed the Corcoran on previous visits, but I didn’t realize it was right there (500 17th St. @ New York Ave. NW), but as I walked down 17th St. I saw its impressive architecture. It’s currently undergoing restorations, at least to its exterior, and there was scaffolding surrounding the building.

After viewing the Sargent exhibit, I made a visit to the gift shop, which every museum, gallery, and tourist attraction in Washington has. This gift shop was very complete and carried better merchandise than many; that is, it had posters, calendars, prints, and books rather than pencils, pens, key chains, and refrigerator magnets.

Anyway, I purchased a small book that is very complete although in a small format of 4 x 5 in (10.2 x 12.7 cm). It’s called American Treasures of the Corcoran Gallery of Art published by Abbeville Press with text by Sarah Cash and Terrie Sultan.

As I said, I learned a lot about the Corcoran, and the book was very helpful. The book has an informative introduction and includes photos of its collection divided into sections on the Colonial and Federal periods, the Romantic Era, Impressionism and Realism, early 20th Century, and Post-War Abstraction. It also said:

The Corcoran is the oldest and largest private museum in Washington, D.C.

It was founded in 1869 by William Corcoran, a prominent American collector of his day who died in 1888.

The present building has housed the Corcoran since 1897.

The gallery is home to more than 14,000 artworks that date back to 600 B.C.

Senator William Clark of Montana donated his collection of European art to the gallery in 1925, and a wing to house his collection was added in 1928.

In 1949, John Singer Sargent’s family donated many pieces of his works that now make him one of the best represented artists in the gallery.

The gallery is currently undergoing its first renovations and additions since 1928 that are designed by acclaimed architect Frank Gehry.

If you ever visit Washington, D.C., don’t miss seeing the Corcoran Gallery of Art.


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