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National Gallery of Art announces second round of acquisitions from the Collection of the Corcoran Gallery
Honoré Victorin Daumier, Le Vente Législatif, February 5, 1834. Lithograph. National Gallery of Art, Washington (Corcoran Collection, Museum Purchase, Mary E. Maxwell Fund).

WASHINGTON, DC.- On October 1, the National Gallery of Art's board of trustees approved the acquisition of 1,541 additional works of art―most of them prints, drawings, and watercolors―from the collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. To date, with the accessioning of 6,430 objects last February, the National Gallery has acquired nearly 8,000 of the more than 17,000 total works from the Corcoran's collection.

Curators will continue to carefully review photographs and Dutch paintings for consideration by the board for some time to come. In early 2016, in accordance with the process approved by the Attorney General of the District of Columbia, the National Gallery of Art plans to begin making recommendations to the Trustees of the Corcoran for the distribution of the remaining works in the National Gallery's custody to appropriate museums and other cultural venues in DC. The National Gallery will also assist in the administration and transfer of those works.

"This has been a most serious undertaking by National Gallery of Art staff, assisted in some areas by staff from the Corcoran. The installation of Corcoran works at the National Gallery is an ongoing process. Every work of art not selected for acquisition will be considered carefully to determine where it would be most accessible to the public and scholars and complement other collections in the nation's capital," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art.

"The Corcoran trustees are pleased that the National Gallery of Art has accessioned these Corcoran works into their collection and that they will continue to be displayed and available to the public. When additional Corcoran works are distributed throughout Washington, one of our primary goals—to ensure the Corcoran works are seen by the largest possible audiences—will be achieved," said Harry Hopper, Corcoran's chairman.

Dutch Paintings
The National Gallery of Art's trustees have approved the first reattribution of a work from the Corcoran. The Flemish oil-on-panel depicting the Judgment of Midas from the school of Peter Paul Rubens dated c. 1634 will now be identified as a work by Jan van den Hoecke, one of Rubens' chief assistants, dated c. 1640. National Gallery curator of northern baroque painting Arthur Wheelock and an international committee of scholars positively identified the artist.

The other addition to the Dutch painting collection is Meindert Hobbema's A Wooded Landscape with Figures (c. 1658) from the Corcoran's William A. Clark Collection, adding a new dimension to the National Gallery's early Hobbema holdings.

French Paintings
Alongside the group of French paintings from the Corcoran accessioned earlier this year, these 20 paintings expand the National Gallery's holdings of 19th-century art, and landscape painting in particular. Reflecting a late 19th-century American taste for French paintings, the group includes works by Camille Corot, Eugene Isabey, Charles-François Daubigny, and Adolphe Joseph Thomas Monticelli, all popular with collectors like William A. Clark.

Four landscapes by Jean-Charles Cazin are added to the five accessioned in the earlier group, constituting a major collection by this artist who was inspired by both Barbizon school painters in the forest of Fontainebleau, where they were centered, as well as by impressionists. His sensitive, tonal landscapes are in line with later 19th-century symbolist renderings of the light and atmosphere of the French countryside.

Modern Art
The 11 works of modern art are dominated by representatives of the Washington Color School, including Leon Berkowitz, Thomas Downing, and Howard Mehring, as well as two paintings by Jack Bush, a Canadian member of the color field movement. Other accessions include a mixed media piece called Ornithology by Stella Waitzkin, an abstract painting by Irene Rice Pereira, and a red plexiglas sculpture by Washington artist Mimi Herbert.

Prints, Drawings, and Watercolors
Among the 1,508 prints, drawings, and watercolors selected for acquisition is Le Ventre Législatif, February 5, 1834, a large, early major lithograph depicting caricatures of politicians deliberating in the bowels of the French legislature by Honoré Daumier. It is accompanied by some 1,229 additional prints on many topics by Daumier, adding to 1,171 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, and watercolors by the renowned French artist already in the National Gallery's collection.

The most significant old master works are St. Christopher Carrying the Christ Child (c. 1495/1500), an uncommon woodcut by a member of the School of Albrecht Dürer, and Baccio Bandinelli's pen-and-ink Two Male Nude Figures (c. 1520), a distinctive drawing by one of the great Florentine sculptors of the 16th century.

Jean-François Millet's etching of Les Glaneuses (The Gleaners) (1855) predates by two years his famous and sensitive painting of peasant women laboring in the fields.

An extraordinarily beautiful, light-filled watercolor, Alma Thomas's Spring Fantasy (1963) is like none of her other works in the National Gallery's collection. In Nude with Yellow Pillow (1994), Roy Lichtenstein juxtaposed the curvaceous form of a nude with an eccentrically shaped sculpture on a nearby table, calling to mind his statement that the nude gave him a "good excuse to contrast undulating and volumetric form with rigid geometry."

Corcoran Works On View at the National Gallery of Art
Currently, there are 58 works from the Corcoran Collection on view at the National Gallery of Art, including American paintings ranging from Frederic Edwin Church's magnificent Niagara (1857) to Mary Cassatt's Young Girl at a Window (c. 1883-1884); sculptures and decorative art objects, including American artist Hiram Powers's classical marble The Greek Slave (modeled 1841-1843, carved 1846) and a diverse selection of the colorful, tin-glazed, Italian Renaissance earthenware known as maiolica; French paintings, including Edgar Degas's masterful The Dance Class (c. 1873); and Dutch works from the Leiden school, one of which is Gerrit Dou's engaging oval painting Bust of a Man (c. 1645).

Today's News

October 18, 2015

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