In what will be an endnote to be discussed for some time, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, one of the nation’s oldest private museums, will be no more. Despite a suit to prevent the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the Corcoran College of Art + Design from a takeover by George Washington University and the National Gallery of Art, Judge Robert Okun of the District of Columbia Supreme Court has ruled that it is completely legal for the proposed merger to occur.
Though students and faculty fought the merger, a spate of poor financial decisions over the last several years primed the private museum to consider either folding or being folded into other institutions.
Regarding the decision, Judge Okun’s written decision was tinged with remorse: “This court finds it painful to issue an order that effectively dissolves the Corcoran as an independent entity. But this court would find it even more painful to deny the relief requested and allow the Corcoran to face its likely demise — the likely dissolution of the college, the closing of the gallery, and the dispersal of the gallery’s entire collection.”
The merger will begin this Wednesday as new students begin orientation at the Corcoran College of Art + Design under the management of George Washington University. The galleries of the Corcoran will be closed beginning October 1, 2014 for approximately a year while the National Gallery of Art plans their exhibition schedule for 2015.