Corcoran Gallery set to close

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Corcoran GalleryThe Corcoran Gallery of Art was founded in 1869 by William Corcoran. Its main focus was American art and it housed 17,000 artworks. In recent years it has had financial troubles and in August of this year a Superior Court Judge approved a plan for it to merge with the National Gallery of Art and George Washington University.

The art will go to the National Gallery and the school will go to the University.

On October 1, the gallery will close to the public and undergo extensive renovations. The plan is to expand the classroom area and reduce the gallery space. The art will focus on contemporary art shows and a few pieces associated with the Corcoran. The new gallery will open under the National Gallery of Art in October 2015.

I first visited the beautiful Beaux-Arts style, 135,000 square feet building 25 years ago. One painting in particular intrigued me. I am a Van Gogh fan and have visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam several times.

This painting (below) by Robert Colescott is a satire of Van Gogh’s Wheatfield with Crows. It is irreverent and humorous. Vincent is smiling, looking down on his wheat fields while Colescott in headphones paints two scantily clad skeletons.

Auvers-sur-Oise-Van GoghOn my recent visit the museum seemed empty. Some of the galleries were already closed, the shop was gone, and although there were people wandering around, it was far from crowded. It is sad to see it go but I look forward to its re-birth.

(The Corcoran Gallery of Art is located at: 500 Seventeenth St NW, Washington, DC, 20006)