National Gallery, George Washington University takeover of Corcoran set

National Gallery, George Washington University are set to take over Corcoran in Washington

The Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington has finalized its takeover deal with George Washington University and the National Gallery of Art in an arrangement that will see the financially troubled art institution give up its autonomous identity.

Under the complex agreement, which was announced in February, the privately run Corcoran will see much of its art collection absorbed by the National Gallery. The Corcoran's art school will become part of George Washington University. 

Officials at the Corcoran said this week that full-time ranked faculty at its College of Art and Design will transfer to George Washington for the 2014-15 academic year. 

The deal was officially signed on Thursday, though the three parties are awaiting a court ruling before it  can go into effect. The Corcoran board is awaiting a so-called cy pres determination from the D.C. Superior Court that would allow a charitable organization like the Corcoran to change its mission.

As part of the deal, the National Gallery will present exhibitions of modern and contemporary art in the Corcoran's historic Beaux-Arts building in Washington. 

Works that are not accessioned by the National Gallery will be distributed by the Corcoran to other art museums. The Corcoran added that no work of art will be sold and that all donor restrictions will be honored.

The Washington Post reported that 20 Corcoran museum employees -- including all the curators -- will be invited to join the National Gallery for at least a year. 

The Corcoran building will be closed to the public starting Oct. 1 to prepare for the transitions.

For years, the nonprofit Corcoran has experienced financial difficulties and has explored deals with other institutions, including the University of Maryland. The art institution, founded in 1869 by William Corcoran, has a 17,000-piece collection of American art from the 18th century to the present.


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