An Intimate View: European Art from the Collection
With the acquisition of William A. Clark’s collection in 1926, the Corcoran’s role in the study of European art improved dramatically in quality and prominence. While small and eclectic by contemporary museum standards, the European collection now represents a wide range of historic and aesthetic ideas and styles, making it ideal for teaching.
The Clark bequest, which built on William Wilson Corcoran’s initial gift of both American and European art, included a wide range of outstanding examples, from Greek antiquities and Renaissance era pottery to 17th-century Dutch landscapes and 19th-century French masterpieces. Over time, the Corcoran has received many additional gifts to help build the collection, most significantly from Edward C. and Mary Walker, who donated a group of important Impressionist works in 1937.
The Corcoran’s European collections are shown on a rotating basis, with an emphasis on establishing relationships between the history of art and the contemporary world it helps to illuminate. Just as American artists frequently looked to Europe for inspiration during the 18th and 19th centuries, this collection continues to provide a strong foundation for our understanding and interpretation of American art, contemporary art, photography, and new media.