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Corcoran Gallery of Art

500 17th St & New York Ave, N.W.
Washington, DC

Phone: 202-639-1700 1-888-corcora(n)

Statement of Purpose

Founded in 1869, the Corcoran Gallery of Art is known for its stunning collection of 19th century American portraits and landscapes as well as for its comprehensive collection of photography,as well as contemporary American paintings, drawings and sculpture. Besides the permanent collection, the Corcoran is best known for its cutting-edge exhibitions of contemporary art and its biennial of American Paintings.

Only a block from the White House and just a short walk from the nation’s historic Mall, the Corcoran stands as a major center of American art. It is a place where the past, present and future of the visual arts come to life -- the past in the museum’s extensive collection of American and European masterworks, the present in its ongoing exhibitions of contemporary art, and the future in the classrooms and studios of one of the most distinguished colleges of art and design in the country.

The largest non-federal art museum in the nation’s capital, the Corcoran was founded in 1869 as an institution to be "dedicated to art, and used solely for the purpose of encouraging the American genius." It was Washington’s first art museum and ranks with Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art as one of the three oldest museums in the United States.

Each year the Corcoran is a destination for hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the country and around the world. The Corcoran College of Art and Design, the only professional art and design school in the nation’s capital, draws thousands more for formal training and continuing education in the visual arts. With its classrooms, galleries, café, shop and an array of informative and entertaining programs for visitors and members, the Corcoran is a living monument to art and American creativity


Treasures of the Corcoran: The Permanent Collection on View The collection on view includes an historically varied selection of major paintings, sculpture, photographs and drawings ranging from Barye bronzes to decorative arts, and European Renaissance to contemporary American paintings.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

The Corcoran is Washington's first museum and school of art. With its comprehensive collection of American art, European holdings and a diverse range of exhibitions, the Corcoran is the center for art and cultural events in the nation's capital. As one of the few non-federal museums in the greater Washington area, the Corcoran has a special obligation to address the cultural and educational needs of the region's broad economic and educational communities. Our mission is to expand and enhance the understanding of the world through art for both residents and visitors.

The Corcoran School of Art, founded in 1890, is Washington's only accredited school of art and design. The Corcoran School of Art ranks today among America's oldest and most distinguished colleges of the visual arts. The School enrolls more than 330 full-time Bachelor of Fine Arts degree candidates in three disciplines: fine arts, photography and graphic design. In addition, more than 3,000 Washington-area residents participate in continuing education classes through the school's Open Program. The scholarship fund at the Corcoran School of Art provides an opportunity for talented art and design students to attend the Corcoran without regard to income.

Located at 500 Seventeenth Street, NW, the Corcoran is open to the public every day, except Tuesday, from 10 am to 5 pm and Thursdays until 9 pm. The museum is closed on Tuesday. Suggested donation for visitors is $3 for adults, $1 for students and senior citizens and $5 for families. The Café des Artistes is open every day except Tuesdays from 11 am to 3 pm, Sunday Brunch from 11 am to 2 pm, and for dinner until 8:30 pm on Thursdays. The public may call (202) 639-1700 for information about the Gallery. Our experienced museum docents lead tours at noon every day (except Tuesday), Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 am, noon, and 2:30 pm and Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm. Tours last about 45 minutes. Patrons meet their docent in the Atrium.

Highlights & Collections

Only a block from the White House and jiust a short walk from the nation's historic mall, the Corcoran stands as a major center of American Art. It is a place where the past, present and future of the visual arts come to life-- the past in the museum's extensive collection of American and European masterworks, the present in its ongoing exhibitions of contemporary art, and the future in the classrooms and studios of one of the most distinguished colleges of art and design in the country. The Corcoran is one of the few privately supported museums in the nation's capital. It was Washington's first museum of art. Some highlights of the permanent collection include: The Salon Dore, an 18th century French period room from the hotel de Clermont in Paris; Niagara Falls (1857) by Frederic Edwin Church; Mount Corcoran (1875-77) by Albert Bierstadt; Washington Before Yorktown (1824-25) by Rembrandt Peale;Susan on a Balcony Holding a Dog (c. 1883) by Mary Cassatt; The Pathetic Song (1881) by Thomas Eakins;The Departure (1837) and The Return (1837) by Thomas Cole; Battersea Reach (1863) by James Abbott McNeill Whistler; Madame Edouard Pailleron (1879) by John Singer Sargent; A Light on the Sea (1897) Winslow Homer; Ground Swell(1939) by Edward Hopper; Ocean Park # 83(1975)by Richard Diebenkorn; Into Bondage(1936)by Aaron Douglas;

Major Collections:

The William Wilson Corcoran Collection of art from the Colonial period through the 19th century. The Clark Collection of Dutch, Flemish and French Paintings (plus the Salon Dore). The Hirshhorn Collection of Contemporary paintings, drawings and sculpture. The Evans-Tibbs Collection of African American Art. The Walker Collection of French painting from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. More than 5,000 photographs and 6,500 prints and drawings. The largest group of Barye Bronzes outside the Louvre.

Exhibits & Special Events



Admission & Directions

Suggested donation

Just one block from the White House, the Corcoran is located at 500 17th Street, NW. Metro stops Farragut North or Farragut West.

Key Personnel

David C. Levy, President and Director

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