Washington, D.C. Sights



Corcoran Gallery of Art

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Corcoran Gallery of Art Review

The Corcoran looks like a museum and acts like a gallery, blending classic elegance and experimental edge. Washington's first art museum is housed in a marble Beaux Arts mansion, and is home to an important collection of 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century European and American art. The Corcoran School of Art + Design is also here, showcasing cutting-edge contemporary art, from established superstars to undiscovered talents.


A prize collection of masterworks by the great early American artists, including John Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Rembrandt Peale, Mary Cassatt, and John Singer Sargent, is in constant rotation, but you're always guaranteed to see a selection of the most-important pieces, displayed in gilded frames in high-ceilinged rooms

Experience the breadth of postwar art with works by Cy Twombly, Lee Bontecou, Andy Warhol, and Ellsworth Kelly.

Photography is one of the museum's great strengths: recent exhibits of works by Richard Avedon and William Eggleston drew sellout crowds.

The exhibition space Gallery 31 shows work by students, faculty, and alumni of the highly reputed Corcoran School of Art + Design.


There are free docent-led tours Wednesday through Sunday at noon, Wednesday evenings at 7, and weekends at 3.

Purchase advance tickets for special exhibitions, which tend to be popular.

Todd Gray's Muse at the Corcoran restaurant is set in the marble-columned atrium and is a great place for a sophisticated meal; enjoy Market Brunch every Sunday, often featuring live entertainment.

The shop offers exhibition catalogs, art and design books, apparel, toys, prints and more, as well as original art by students and alumni of the Corcoran School of Art + Design.

    Contact Information

  • Address: 500 17th St. NW, White House area Washington, DC 20006 | Map It
  • Phone: 202/639–1700
  • Cost: $10 admission
  • Hours: Thurs., Fri., and weekends 10–5; Wed. 10–9
  • Website:
  • Metro Farragut West or Farragut North.
  • Location: The White House Area and Foggy Bottom
Updated: 06-05-2013

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    Free Admission on Summer Saturdays

    My spouse and I visited the Corcoran Museum in late May 2013. We visited on a Saturday, when admission is free as part of their Summer Saturdays program (normally, admission is $10 per adult). The permanent collection resides on the ground/first floor of the Beaux Arts building, with rotating exhibits on the second floor. The museum is a manageable size, and it is possible to visit in about 2 hours.

    Todd Gray’s Muse Cafe is on-site (although it is kind of out-in-the-open, better designed for a quick bite than a formal meal), as well as a gift shop and coat/backpack check. Guided tours of the entire collection and of highlighted/spotlighted works are available at designated times throughout the day.

    We were primarily interested in seeing the few Impressionist paintings on display, including a few works by Monet and Renoir as well as pieces by Dutch and Flemish artists; however, we ended up being impressed by the collection of works by American artists like Warhol, Rothko, Whistler, Sargent, Cassatt, Homer, and Eakins. One gallery features an ornate, gilded room that was transported “in toto” from Paris, and another gallery features works hung in salon style rather than traditional museum style. We were interested in viewing one of the rotating exhibits on the second floor concerning war photography, but it was not yet open.

    We are glad that we got to sample the museum for free! It was a nice way to spend a few hours. We hope the Summer Saturdays program continues.

    by fluffnfold, 9/18/13

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