Corcoran Gallery of Art: American Paintings to 1945 was conceived in 2003 as a publication which would fill a long-acknowledged need for in-depth research and scholarship on the Corcoran's signature holdings. It builds on several fine publications that have addressed aspects of the American collection over the years, most notably Corcoran curator Dorothy W. Phillips' two-volume Catalogue of the American Paintings in the Corcoran Gallery of Art (1966 and 1973), the only modern catalogue of the collection.
A project of the scope, duration, and complexity of Corcoran Gallery of Art: American Paintings to 1945 necessarily incurs many debts. While exhaustive acknowledgments may be found in the hardback volume for which this website is a companion, I would also like to extend some thanks here. Deepest appreciation is due to the individuals and organizations that generously provided funding for the endeavor. The seminal gift from The Henry Luce Foundation, Inc., whose longstanding support of American art research and publication projects has been essential to undertakings such as this one, was followed by generous contributions from the Women's Committee of the Corcoran Gallery of Art; the Getty Foundation; the National Endowment for the Arts; The Page and Otto Marx, Jr., Foundation; Martha A. Healy; Ambika Kosada, James Atwood and Richard Atwood in memory of Joyce Rose Atwood; and Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund, Inc. Additional support was provided by the Peters Family Art Foundation; Catherine Dail; James Graham and Sons; Max N. Berry; Debra Force Fine Art, Inc.; Conner•Rosenkranz, New York; Ted Cooper; Maryann and Alvin Friedman; Betty Krulik Fine Art, Limited; Arthur J. Phelan; Richard D. Chalfant; Diana Kaw; Lawrence W. Chakrin; and Marjorie S. Lindemann. Each of these gifts was essential for supporting the comprehensive provenance, exhibition, and bibliographic research that underlies these apparatuses, as well as the essays in the printed book. Eli Wilner and Company provided support for the photography of original frames.
The apparatuses on this website are the result of over four years of intensive and meticulous research by the catalogue project’s research fellows: Jenny Carson, Adam Greenhalgh, Randall McLean, Laura Groves Napolitano, Katherine Roeder, Emily Dana Shapiro, Lisa Strong, and Jennifer Wingate. The vast amount of new information compiled about the history of the collection, which has resulted in recovering more than fifty original titles, dates, and attributions, and filling in numerous provenance gaps, is the legacy of their skillful and dedicated work. These talented historians of American art all also wrote essays for the book component of the catalogue.
Emily Dana Shapiro, former assistant curator of American Art, collaborated with me on nearly every aspect of this project’s development, and helped supervise the extensive, multiyear endeavor of thoroughly researching and preparing the apparatuses. Lisa Strong, manager of curatorial affairs, ably managed the complexities of the book’s production, and her work coordinating object photography, obtaining supplementary images and their rights, and editing apparatuses was invaluable.
Dare Hartwell, director of conservation, spearheaded the enormous task of performing technical examinations on each of the 102 featured works. She was assisted by colleagues Sian Jones, Lance Mayer, Gay Myers, Barbara Ramsay, and Elizabeth Steele, each of whom examined paintings within their specific areas of expertise. Using these technical examinations and their resulting reports, Hartwell compiled and edited the Technical Notes found on this website. She also developed the list of technical terms hyperlinked herein to artnet.com and compiled the biographies of past Corcoran conservators in the Technical Notes (see hyperlinks). In the latter endeavor she was aided by Corcoran staff member Elizabeth Parr and Marisa Bourgoin, Corcoran archivist from 1993 to 2007. Bourgoin also assisted with countless research questions, deftly located documents for research fellows, and generously shared her unsurpassed knowledge of William Wilson Corcoran and the history of the institution.
A number of interns provided invaluable assistance over the course of this project: Matthew Bacon, Margaret Carragher, Andrew D’Ambrosio, Abigail Davis, Emma Dent, Diana Kaw, Margaret Morrison, Michael Raven, Heather Saeger, Ingrid Seggerman, Elizabeth Shook, Amy Torbert, and Victoria Yetter. Aaron Cator spent many hours indefatigably entering changes and copyedits to the completed apparatuses.
I extend my sincere thanks to the many museum and academic colleagues, librarians, archivists, art dealers, collectors, and others in the United States and abroad who gave their time and energy to answering questions or sharing research as we prepared the two-part catalogue. These individuals are thanked by name in the book’s acknowledgements, as are the many Corcoran staff members, present and former, who supported the book and online project in ways too numerous to mention here.
Amanda C. Bloomfield, former Corcoran Gallery of Art staff member (and Corcoran College of Art + Design graduate), rendered the voluminous and detailed research presented on this website both attractive and useful. In designing and producing the website she collaborated with Daniel Frishberg, Corcoran Website Manager, and Jessica Semler, Corcoran Manager of Marketing.
Editor and Project Director, Corcoran Gallery of Art: American Paintings to 1945
Bechhoefer Curator of American Art
Corcoran Gallery of Art
500 Seventeenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006