Art: The Corcoran's Century

For a century. Washington's Corcoran Gallery has been a staunch patron of American art. This week it marks its 100th birthday with a two-city celebration: a loan exhibition at Manhattan's Wildenstein Gallery of outstanding pictures drawn from its collection and its regular biennial roundup of contemporary U.S. paintings in Washington. Founder William Wilson Corcoran was a Washington banker so rich and so well connected financially that he could and did underwrite much of the cost of the Mexican War (1846-48). While new-rich American collectors of the 19th century were turning almost exclusively to European art, Corcoran himself chose to concentrate on...

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