Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design, Corcoran Gallery of Art rental records
Scope and Contents
The records of the Art Rental and Sales Gallery include consignments with commercial galleries and individual artists, master contracts, prospective artists, inventories and shipping lists, correspondence, rental procedures, administrative information and operating procedures, financial reports, insurance, legal information and suits, rental applications and agreements, and Gallery income from rentals and sales. The dates of material range from beginning to end of the Gallery’s operation, from 1962 to 1973.
These records reflect the Art Rental Gallery’s growth and document its rental and sales activity, covering all aspects of the operation of the gallery, from administrative concerns to operating procedures. The records also reflect the currents of modern taste and the trends in art through the sixties and early seventies.
Several well-known and established artists were chosen from commercial galleries in New York to exhibit in the Art Rental Gallery. Among these are Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Leonard Baskin, and Josef Albers. Washington area artists were also chosen for exhibition in the gallery for rental or purchase.
Persons who figure prominently in the records are Inga Wall Heck, Julie Forgey Lea, Judith Lanius, and Cecelia Kramer.
The records are not continuous, and there are notable gaps in the administrative and financial information.
- Corcoran Gallery of Art (Organization)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open to research.
Series 2 Subseries 12 Legal problems and suits may contain materials with restricted content. All requests to use materials in Series 2 Subseries 12 must be reviewed and approved by the Public Services Librarian.
Conditions Governing Use
To the extent that the institution owns copyright, the donor has assigned the copyright in its works to The George Washington University; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For activities that the researcher determines fall under fair use as defined under U.S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. Please contact Special Collections if the copyright status of the materials you wish to reuse is unclear. Staff will provide additional information.
For re-use of materials in the collection not created by the donor, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights, determining if the intended re-use falls under fair use, and obtaining approval from the copyright holder if the intended use does not fall under fair use. For such materials, researchers do not need anything further from The George Washington University’s Special Collections Research Center.
This history was prepared by Corcoran Archivist Katherine M. Kovocs for publication in 1985 with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The Art Rental and Sales Gallery opened March 9, 1962 in gallery 42. The Rental Gallery was designed to offer Corcoran members original works of art on a two-month rental basis for private homes, as well as for corporate offices. A collection of works by contemporary American artists was selected on a consignment basis principally from commercial galleries in New York and Washington; although in some cases, consignments were arranged directly with the artist.
For the first five years of the Rental Gallery, Washington area interior designers created a series of room displays each Fall and Spring. The intention was to give prospective renters a chance to view contemporary works of art in home and office settings. In the spring of 1967, the Art Rental Gallery was moved to the rear of the building adjacent to the Children's Gallery. That room and the rear corridor were used as display areas. A small percentage of exhibition space was allotted for the interior display cubicles.
In 1968 the Art Rental Gallery was moved again to galleries 48 and 49. At this time the interior designer cubicles were discontinued. In the spring of 1969, an exhibition of designer furniture shared the principle exhibition area with rental paintings. In the late spring of 1969, the gallery was moved to the front of the building and occupied two rooms, which at one time comprised the Membership and Development office. The gallery remained at this location until its closing in 1973.
The Board of Trustees decided in January 1973 to discontinue the Art Rental Gallery due to high operating costs. With the increase in private galleries in Washington, the Board felt that the members and public had an increased availability to all aspects of art patronage, and that the Art Rental Gallery had served its purpose of "introducing" Washingtonians to current American art and promoting Washington area artists. The Board consensus was that the Corcoran Gallery of Art would continue to encourage Washington artists by exhibitions of their works in the galleries and corridors, and that the Corcoran staff would always be willing to advise members who wished to know about artists and galleries in Washington.
9 Linear Feet (6 record center cartons)
Language of Materials
The Art Rental and Sales Gallery operated from March 9, 1962 to 1973. The Rental Gallery was designed to offer Corcoran members original works of art on a rental basis for private homes, as well as for corporate offices, and to introduce Washingtonians to current American and local artists. The records of the Art Rental and Sales Gallery include consignments with commercial galleries and individual artists, master contracts, prospective artist records, inventories and shipping lists, correspondence, rental procedures, administrative information and operating procedures, financial reports, insurance, legal information and suits, rental applications and agreements, and Gallery income reports from rentals and sales.
Organized into 3 series: Consignments, Administration, and Rental and sales.
Materials are stored off-site, and will require additional retrieval time. Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information.
These records were transferred to the Corcoran Archives from storage in 1980.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Corcoran Institution Board of Trustees donated these records to The George Washington University in 2016.
According to the Corcoran Archives legacy guides, during the initial processing the following materials were removed and placed in more appropriate locations:
Newsclippings moved to Artist vertical files or history clipping files; Announcements and invitations moved to Special Events ephemera files; Photos moved to Archives audio-visual records or Artists vertical files.
According to the Corcoran Archives legacy guides, the following materials were disposed of during initial processing:
duplicates, handwritten notes, 3x5 rental check-out cards, decorating ideas clipped from the Washington Star and New York Times Sunday Magazines, and daily receipts where the information is duplicated in the ARG income reports.
- Art Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Artists Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Museums Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Washington (D.C.) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Guide to the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Corcoran College of Art + Design, Corcoran Gallery of Art rental records, 1961-1973
- Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
Part of the Special Collections Research Center, The George Washington University Repository
2130 H Street NW
Washington 20052 United States of America