Corcoran, William Wilson

Corcoran, William Wilson kôr´kərən [key], 1798–1888, American financier, philanthropist, and art collector, b. Georgetown, D.C. After becoming a successful banker, he retired in 1854 and devoted himself to his philanthropic activities, which included gifts to many educational and religious institutions, as well as the founding of the Louise Home for Women in Washington. His chief gift was the Corcoran Gallery of Art, in Washington, which had as its nucleus Corcoran's art collection. It was originally housed in what is now the Renwick Gallery (opened 1874), but outgrew it and moved to the marble building designed by Ernest Flagg (opened 1897) the Clark Wing was added in 1928. The gallery had collections of paintings, sculpture, and ceramics, as well as an art school. In 2014 the Corcoran, which had been suffering severe financial problems, transferred its artworks and galleries to the National Gallery and its Corcoran College of the Arts and Design to George Washington Univ.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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