Corcoran Study Collection

Jennifer Steinkamp's "Loop" Jennifer Steinkamp's "Loop," once on display in the Corcoran Rotunda, will return to the Corcoran Research Collection.

Established in 2018, the Corcoran Study Collection is a part of the broad range of arts initiatives and collections across GW's campuses. The collection consists of 830 works of art from the former Corcoran Gallery of Art's collection and serves as a resource for teaching, study, and research by faculty, students, and researchers at GW and beyond.

The Corcoran Gallery of Art was established in 1869 by William Wilson Corcoran (1798-1888) and expanded in 1880 to include the Corcoran College of Art and Design. In 2014, the Corcoran transferred the college and gallery building to GW and distributed the works from its collection to museums and institutions in Washington, D.C. As a part of the collection distribution, the Trustees of the Corcoran Gallery of Art gifted 830 works to GW.

In accordance with the Order of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia's 2014 ruling, the collection is also required to publicly display the works and to maintain and preserve the works in accordance with museum and archival practices.

GW’s new online archive includes photographs and information about more than 4,000 artifacts so far, now available to view through the university’s pilot collections website.


Works in the Collection

The Corcoran Study Collection includes 830 works dating from the 17th century to the 21st century:

  • 696 Photographs 
  • 97 Works on paper
  • 18 Paintings
  • 16 sculptures and installations
  • 3 Decorative arts objects (including the ceremonial sterling silver trowel used to lay the cornerstone of the Flagg Building on May 10, 1894)


Particularly notable pieces gifted to GW include Jennifer Steinkamp’s “Loop,” a vibrant audiovisual work once on display in the Corcoran Rotunda; Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s “The Paradise Institute,” an immersive multimedia experience mimicking a grand, old-style movie palace that was created for the 2001 Venice Biennale; and Robert Stackhouse’s colossal wooden “Ghost Dance.”


The collection also contains works by local and internationally renowned artists, including: Ansel Adams, Eugène Atget, Kendall Buster, William Christenberry, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Dale Chihuly, Honoré Daumier, Gene Davis, Anthony van Dyck, Robert Frank, Annie Leibovitz, Sally Mann, Mary Ellen Mark, Rembrandt Peale, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Joshua Reynolds, Rosalind Fox Solomon, William Wegman, Garry Winogrand, and many more.



HOME: Selections from the Corcoran Study Collection

Exhibition is free and open to the public November 14 - December 15, 2019, Tuesday – Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m.

Luther W. Brady Art Gallery (galleries off of the atrium)
500 17th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20006

Is a home just the physical dwelling or is it really where the heart is? How do we depict home? Is it a place, a person, or something indescribable? HOME: Selections from the Corcoran Study Collection seeks to show many facets of home through photographic works recently returned to the Corcoran Flagg Building from works exploring Washington, D.C., the city many of us call home, to more intangible feelings of where we find comfort, to the idea of the Corcoran Flagg Building as a dedicated home for art.

The Luther W. Brady Art Gallery has collaborated with the Corcoran Study Collection and a GW Art History class, taught by Assistant Professor of Art History Lisa Lipinski, to research and write wall labels for the works in this exhibition. The project provides both hands-on research experience for students while adding to the continuing scholarship on the works in this exhibition, both goals of the Corcoran Study Collection.


Teaching and Research Access

Access to the Corcoran Study Collection is by confirmed appointment only and is available for serious study to all students, faculty, and researchers at GW and beyond.

Before submitting an access request, please email Sara Berg ([email protected]) in order to discuss your class and research topic and to select appropriate objects for viewing.


Questions about the Corcoran Study Collection?

Contact Sara Berg at [email protected]
Collections Specialist, Corcoran Study Collection
Mailing: 701 21st St NW, Washington, DC 20052