Today in Smithsonian History: July 11, 1906

Harriet Lane Johnson Collection on display at the Nation al Galery of Art in 1906

The Harriet Lane Johnston Collection exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in the Lecture Hall of the Arts and Industries Building in November 1906, before it had been entirely remodeled. The photo shows 13 paintings, several busts on pedestals and a statuette on a floor stand. (Photographer unknown)

July 11, 1906 The National Gallery of Art, now the Smithsonian American Art Museum, achieves official status as part of the Smithsonian Institution. This occurs when the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia decrees that the pictures, miniatures and other articles bequeathed by Harriet Lane Johnston should become the property of the National Art Gallery. Johnston’s will left the collection to the Corcoran Gallery of Art, unless the United States government established a National Gallery of Art. The Smithsonian, therefore, formally establishes the National Gallery of Art to receive the collection. As a result of this decree, the collection, consisting of 31 pieces, is delivered to the Smithsonian Institution on August 3, 1906.

Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Archives

Posted: 11 July 2018
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