This mansarded building, modeled on the Louvre, was built across from the White House in 1859 by architect James Renwick to house the art collection of financier and philanthropist William Wilson Corcoran. It changed hands several times before opening in 1972 as the Smithsonian’s craft museum, and it remains a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibition of American crafts from the 19th century to the present often showcases striking work. Major works by well-established craftsmen and -women, including Wendell Castle, Dale Chihuly, Robert Ebendorf, David Ellsworth, Sheila Hicks, Karen LaMonte, Beth Lipman, Sam Maloof and Albert Paley, are featured. Jewelry, furniture, and wood art make up a significant part of the collection. In the mansion’s refurbished Grand Salon picture gallery, paintings that exemplify the taste of wealthy late 19th-century collectors hang in gilt frames stacked two and three high; works on view rotate regularly. Temporary exhibitions, which are held downstairs, survey artistic movements or artists.
Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum
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