Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
The merger of the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the National Gallery of Art was complicated, to put it mildly. Artists and visitors had no idea whether any pieces from the Corcoran Collection would ever be displayed on the National Gallery’s walls, but following the impressive and extensive renovation of the East Building, many of the Corcoran’s significant pieces have found new permanent homes. The standouts are the upstairs galleries dedicated to abstract expressionism and the Washington Color School. Bright pieces by Willem de Kooning, Leon Berkowitz, and Gene Davis exist harmoniously across from Sam Gilliam’s “Relative,” given to the National Gallery in 1994. This one room perfectly encapsulates D.C.’s legacy as a training ground and home to some of the nation’s most significant artists.