It is one of the first buildings in the United States erected exclusively as a gallery of art, and is the oldest art gallery in the District of Columbia. Its outstanding merit is, however, the quality of its architectural design. Conceived in the French Second Empire style, the Old Corcoran Art Gallery is a deliberate emulation of the design of new additions to the Louvre in Paris executed by Visconti and Lefuel for Napoleon III. The relatively modest scale of this building, the date of its construction, and the excellence of its architectural detail give this building a seminal position in the development of the Second Empire style in the United States; a style which achieved wide popularity and produced such vast buildings as the Philadelphia City Hall and the Old State, War, and Navy Building in Washington.
The Renwick faces Pennsylvania Avenue and is constructed of red brick, with sandstone trim, and has a slate roof. It was constructed from 1859-1864 and then restored in 1967-1970 and 1985-1986.
DC designation: November 8, 1964
National Register listing: March 24, 1969
National Historic Landmark: November 11, 1971
Corcoran Gallery of Art- Interiors
Nominated by DC Preservation League and Save the Corcoran and designated on April 23, 2015.