Corcoran Gallery Returned to W. W. Corcoran

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The U.S. Government returns the Corcoran Gallery of Art, which it had seized in 1861 for use by the Quartermaster General, to William Wilson Corcoran. Corcoran requests $8,500 rent from the Army for its use of the building but is unsuccessful in collecting it. He deeds the gallery to a nine member board of trustees whose purpose is to establish a Washington institution "dedicated to art." The Trustees apply for and collect $125,000 back rent from the government. The gallery is located on Pensylvania and Seventeenth Street. It is later moved to New York Avenue and Seventeenth Street and the Renwick Gallery moves into the original Corcoran building.


  • Corcoran, W. W (William Wilson) 1798-1888
  • Corcoran Gallery of Art
  • Renwick Gallery)


Chronology of Smithsonian History


  • Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 99, Box 222, Folder 2, "History of the Corcoran Gallery of Art."
  • The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Illustrated Handbook of Paintings, Sculpture and other Art Objects. Washington, D.C.: Judd& Detweiler, Inc., 1939, p. 13.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,


May 10, 1869


  • Architecture
  • Gifts
  • Buildings

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