William Wilson Corcoran

Corcoran, William Wilson (kôrˈkərən) [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. The present marble building, designed by Ernest Flagg, was opened in 1897; the Clark Wing was added in 1928. The gallery has collections of paintings, sculpture, and ceramics, as well as an art school.

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

See more Encyclopedia articles on: American and Canadian Art: Biographies